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Summary:

This Innovation Heat Map crafted by McKinsey and the World Economic Forum maps innovation across the planet. Clearly Silicon Valley is in a class of its own and perhaps that is why others want to imitate its success. Paul Graham recently offered up a recipe to […]

This Innovation Heat Map crafted by McKinsey and the World Economic Forum maps innovation across the planet. Clearly Silicon Valley is in a class of its own and perhaps that is why others want to imitate its success. Paul Graham recently offered up a recipe to replicate Silicon Valley, but even with that I am not sure anyone can pull it off. Why? Because, there are so many intangibles that cannot be quantified and replicated outside of Silicon Valley.

Nowhere else on the planet you will find a grown man who is crazy enough to fund a web site that essentially shows cat videos and expects his investment to pay off big time. YouTube, anyone!? Nowhere but in Silicon Valley is it OK to fail. More importantly, nowhere on the planet can you actually find a place to think as “freely” as Silicon Valley. I speak from personal experience, and you might disagree. I think Silicon Valley is un-replicable.

  1. The ecosystem makes it easier to do the simple stuff, the constant culture of action and renewal makes it easier to recover from failure, but imho, it’s that the people who flock here (and thrive here) share the innate understanding/appreciation/awe of the possible in life.

    Here, anything is possible, you’re surrounded by folks who can help you, and you’re only mistake is to not try.

    That’s my kind of place, and it’s uniquely the Valley.

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  2. @jontrue

    you said it bro. i mean where else a rookie reporter would be allowed to start a company of his dreams. only in SV. i used to be a skeptic, but no more. warts and all it is still one awesome place to be an entrepreneur.

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  3. Adam Jackson Monday, March 2, 2009

    However, it also must be said that there are fantastic ideas that never get funded and some ideas that are fueled and everyone asks, “WTF?”

    I try my damndest to not get sucked into the bubble. 9 Months living in San Francisco and my mental migration is nearly complete.

    Oooh cat videos!

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  4. In the past few years I’ve traveled the world. I’m having a tougher and tougher time telling where the Valley ends anymore. I find the same kind of innovation in Tel Aviv, Shenzhen, Barcelona, Vancouver that I find in San Francisco (which technically is not in the valley). I just find less of it and less of a culture of people who know what Twitter is (or, I guess, a better example now that Twitter is on the BBC, would be friendfeed). Here we celebrate new companies and new ideas. That rarely happens elsewhere in the world. It’s why entrepreneurs tell me that they still want to move here. But, since not everyone can move they are recreating what we have in their own back yards and I think that’s a great thing. It ensures I’ll still need to hop on a plane to see the latest cool thing.

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  5. Experience has taught me that this is not true with mobile. Last year I found finance for my iPhone startup from two British investors, not from the Valley. Perhaps things are changing now, but a year ago you were better off in London or Cambridge (UK) than Redwood City.

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  6. [...] McKinsey has created an “Innovation Heat Map” (full image) that will help you identify the most successful innovation hubs around the world. Save a few cities like London, Tokyo and Tel Aviv, most of the “innovative clusters” can be found in the US with Silicon Valley in a class of its own. [...]

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  7. Interesting, but this diagram is 3 years old(from 2006).

    What’s more, the diagram is based on the patents granted in 2006, which means it’s *actually* measuring patents that were filed two or three years earlier(2003 or 2004).

    In reality, this diagram is measuring the level of innovation from 4 or 5 years ago.

    It would be interesting to construct the diagram with 2008 patent filing data. We would get a better picture of recent innovation, assuming that IP creation equates to innovation.

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  8. Clearly this is about right, but is this based on US patents ? Seems you´ll miss a lot of innovation abroad then.

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  9. The “innovation” is measured in US patent applications. No surprise, the international counterparts have far lower representation in comparison to Silicon Valley.
    I am pretty sure that taking UK, German, or EU patents in considerations will do wonders for London, Munich, and Stuttgart (BMW, Bosch, Siemens, Porsche are prolific patent applicants in Germany). I am not sure about the patent situation in Asia, but in Europe, the local patents are expensive enough to apply for.
    I doubt the mentioned areas will come close to the Valley numbers, but it will make a difference, nonetheless.

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  10. Although I would agree that Silicon Valley is in a league of its own, I’m not sure the graph is the best representation of this: is the number of US patents really a good measure considering the nonsensical nature of a lot of patents?

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