Advanced Tech Cities Index 2017 Methodology by 2thinknow for Business Insider

Welcome to the methodology for the Advanced Tech Cities Index by 2thinknow recently published by Business Insider, and seen in lots of media.


Any cities index measuring advanced tech should be based on advanced late stage technologies primarily, and show cities which invest heavily in technology led innovation, and thus have mainly large technological infrastructure that can be leveraged to create new virtual apps and services or physical products. In 2thinknow view, this smart revolution will come from this human and business infrastructure of advanced tech.

This differs from other indexes, as it focuses on this ‘advanced’ or mostly late stage tech innovation only, which require greater investment to exploit than some types of innovation. However in 2017, we have enhanced this by looking at smartphone install platform, which is a late stage but lower cost option for cities to create distributed technology via apps, sensors and sites to improve citizens lives (all in our own pockets).


Our analysts used raw numbers or per 100,000 numbers as noted below and converted these to a weighted index to calculate a score using 2thinknow’s methodology for the creation of indexes.

We examined the following criteria, and produced weighted scores for each:

Start-ups0s (Number)
Patentsper 100,000 population
Venture Capital0s (Number of)
Innovation Cities RankingRank
Smart Cities RankingRank
City Innovation PolicyScore
No. of Programmersper 100,000 population
Population0s (Number of)
Smart Phone Platformper 100,000
Industrial Designersper 100,000


Number of startups is a measure of technologically advanced cities in their application of technology for commercial uses, and can be attributed to the application of technology by a population. (2016)


Measure of cities actual locally patented technologies which tends to represent an investment in higher level technologies, relative to their population. (2015)

Venture Capitalists

Number of Venture Capitalists engaged in a city is a measure of cities technological investment potential (2017)

SmartPhone Platform

In 2thinknow view, Smartphones are an install platform for the type of city apps, cities should install to run their operations, and corporations can also leverage the number of smart phones.

Innovation Cities Index Ranking

Ranking in the Innovation Cities Index 2015 by 2thinknow, currently in its 10th year of publication. Measure broad-based innovation potential in the city. For more details see (2016-2017). This is included to give a far broader range of criteria than considered in this index.

Smart Cities Ranking

Ranking in the IESE Cities in Motion (Smart Cities) Index 2016, representing smart application of technologies and a cluster of advanced smart city competencies. For more details see IESE current report. (2016). This is also included to give a far broader range of criteria than considered in this index.

City Innovation Policy

Benchmark score representing the support for innovation within the City Government and other levels of government in the city, based on scoring against a checklist of criteria. (2016)

Number of Programmers

Number of persons in the labor force identified with programming skills, and once again a good metric for advanced technology in some sectors. Predominately (2017, some Oct. 2015).

Note that 2thinknow has seen a dramatic increase in the number of programmers in cities worldwide, which is an interesting angle for the story, and helps in part explain the rise of Bangalore.

Industrial Designers

Industrial designers are the means of creating new physical products that add enterprise value to cities, and create great opportunities for new products that address local and global export needs. (2015)

Metropolitan Population

Overall larger population centres attract more advanced technologies and related investment, so this final factor balances the scoring relative to population. (2016) Note that metro populations tend to be larger than inner city populations.

Generally 2016/2017 or occasionally 2015 data was used in the above calculations which were converted to an Index, as attached. Note that the predominate year is noted in brackets above.


Number of cities considered was based on our 85 most requested major cities ordered by customers of our City Benchmarking Data in 2015/2016. These cities typically appear in most rankings and publications of cities. A broader number of cities were processed by us, and the top 25 were published by Chris Weller at Business Insider.


All of the above data points (and many thousands more) can be ordered in their most current year from our City Benchmarking Data set, in either urban, metro or other definitions. Time series may also be available.

Please note a Proposal for the same can be requested for pricing.


Common Questions

How does this differ from the Innovation Cities™ Index?

Every year since 2007 2thinknow publish more broad-based ranking of cities for innovation across multiple sectors of the economy. This can be seen here at the Innovation Cities™ website. This separate ranking considers innovation in 31 segments (30 sectors beyond the one area of pure ‘tech’), and thus is a broader based ranking.

Can 2thinknow assist you with data or a ranking?

As a commercial data provider we can provide data to your requirements, with highly specialized expertise at the city level. We can also assist your organization in creating outputs such as city indexes or reports. Please enquire.