December 03, 2015
How Cities Can Get Their Bite of the Innovation Apple: New York Tops Global Report from Accenture
NEW YORK; Dec. 3, 2015 – Making innovation and entrepreneurship a priority to attract and aid the development of young, technology start-up companies has earned New York City the top spot in a global comparison of 40 cities, according to a study from Accenture (NYSE: ACN), Nesta and Future Cities Catapult.
The report, City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CITIE) also names London, Helsinki, Barcelona and Amsterdam as cities with policy environments that foster innovation. New York’s key differentiator is its leadership over the last decade, which has supported the growth of a sector that now accounts for nearly 300,000 jobs.
According to CITIE, New York City made innovation and entrepreneurship a priority earlier than did comparable cities, and it has taken an extremely active stance towards its startup and tech communities. The city provides support for local start-ups across a wide range of activities, from funding and branding to community building and skills development.
“As New York City’s relatively young tech sector continues to grow, the city can feel confident it is providing the right conditions for innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish,” said Steve Hurst, who leads Accenture’s public sector digital business.
CITIE is a guidebook that can help policymakers create the best possible environment for technology start-ups.  It evaluates how effectively 40 city governments around the world do this, and it provides actionable insight to help policymakers catalyze growth. The report assesses cities against nine key roles that support innovation and entrepreneurship: regulator, advocate, customer, host, investor, connector, strategist, digital governor and datavore. It also measures cities on how open they are to new ideas and businesses, on whether they optimize their infrastructures for high-growth businesses and on how they build innovation into their own activities.
The report notes that New York demonstrates top tier performance through its online, interactive map of start-up activity across the five boroughs. Digital.NYC facilitates connections and meetings between investors and entrepreneurs, while promoting related events such as New York City Tech Day, an annual event with more than 400 exhibitors and 10,000 attendees.
According to the report, one of the most important factors in creating a city culture of innovation lies with the ability to use digital channels to foster high-quality, low-friction engagement with citizens. It cites NYC311, New York’s city-wide, public service call center solution, as a best practice for citizen engagement.
The report also names New York City as a leading example of how strategic branding can position a city and accelerate entrepreneurial development. Between 2003 and 2013, the New York City tech scene raised $3.1 billion in funding, with capital availability growing twice as fast as that in Silicon Valley. This investment translates into a top tier ranking for the city as investor. New York City also invests in tech talent by actively sponsoring technology apprenticeships for young people. The city’s school district has added coding classes to the curriculum and trains teachers to deliver these classes.
Additionally, while the CITIE analysis shows a rich diversity of approaches across different cities, it identifies three characteristics that high-performing city governments have in common. These cities:
  • Find creative ways to effect change outside of their formal policy responsibilities, taking startupson mayoral visits, hosting meetups and connecting different parts of the community together
  • Are open by default, recognizing that the expertise necessary to solve problems in the 21st century may not reside solely within city hall and working with outside organizations wherever possible
  • Act more like entrepreneurs than bureaucrats. Employees are given license to try things out, think big and work at the pace of change in the world around them.
The CITIE research involved consultation with city government leaders, policy experts, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to identify three policy dimensions (openness, infrastructure and leadership) that city governments have direct influence over and are important to entrepreneurs. City governments were assessed against performance in nine key policy roles that support innovation and entrepreneurship.
To construct the CITIE framework, the research team identified and measured performance against 36 policy levers that sit underneath the nine policy roles that city governments can adopt to better enable innovation and entrepreneurship. They analyzed whether, and if so how extensively, a city has implemented each of the policy levers identified in the framework. In the process, they collected, analyzed and reviewed approximately 1,440 unique data points. Secondary desk-based research was conducted to supplement primary data collection.
CITIE is a collaboration between Nesta, Accenture and the Future Cities Catapult. It aims to help city leaders around the world understand how they can create the best environment for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Learn more about Accenture’s work with public service organizations around the world and Delivering Public Service for the Future.
About Accenture
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With more than 358,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at
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