One of my all time favorite books on innovation and the ecosystems that support it is Richard Florida's "The Rise of the Creative Class". Using census and economic data, Florida examines the factors that make Creative Class jobs — in science, engineering, technology, architecture, and the arts — primary drivers for economic growth. He also identifies a number of Creative Class cities that have the right kind of assets — like a strong university system, technological infrastructure, and a tolerant culture — to attract talent and support this kind of economic activity. Boston, of course rates high in Florida's evaluation. And even though Florida published this book in 2002, I think the analysis holds true today: There's no question that Boston is a top-notch Creative Class city. What's most interesting, however, is how Boston, over the past few years, has gained recognition as a world class city for innovation.
A recent study published by The Economist ranked Boston as the 10th most competitive city in the world, out of 120 major cities examined. For the study, the Economist defined competitiveness as "the demonstrated ability to attract capital, businesses, talent and visitors." And last year, Boston ranked number one on the Innovation Cities Index.