Singapore most innovative city in Asia Pacific: study

Singapore was identified as the top city in Asia Pacific in innovation, according to a study done by marketing and growth strategy consulting firm Solidiance.

The Republic beat 15 other cities in the region, including second-ranked Sydney and third-ranked Melbourne. The top three cities were separated by 0.04 points and a macro-view “photoshoot” was needed to allocate the top spot to Singapore. This means the ranking is likely to change in the future.

The study was done to prove if a city has developed an efficient innovation environment. Six main categories -- human talent, knowledge creation, technology, society, government and global integration -- were used to measure the level of innovation per city.

Singapore took pole position in global integration, which was in turn determined by factors such as global competitiveness, presence of innovative corporations and net migration. It ranked from third to fifth in other categories.

However, the city-state scored sixth in the society ranking, which is determined by factors such as degree of censorship and tolerance for failure. While the former is pegged to freedom of expression rankings, the latter factor is pegged to suicide rates.

What makes a favourable innovative city?

“Today, Singapore is bold, fast and successful -- and Singapore Inc will follow the same path. Singapore has no other choice; it must adapt and lead change if it is to remain relevant in the 21st century,” said Damien Duhamel, Solidiance managing partner for Asia Pacific.

The report suggested that a favourable innovation habitat is best exemplified by the following:

  • Rich availability of educated and skillful human talent, enabled by diversity and life amenity

  • Knowledge creation produced by the tertiary education institutes, firms, and government

  • Proper level of city liveability and the tolerance that its society possesses towards deviant norms and failure, along with their ability to sustain culture and value

  • Technology advancement and innovation ecosystem facilitated by the government

  • Favorable regulatory framework set by the government to sustain the city system

  • Global integration and the city’s orientation towards the future, indicated by a high level of the city’s connectivity and environmental sustainability

In the report, Solidiance said it did not compare against countries as it “is a bit like comparing the punch power of a boxing heavyweight with that of a featherweight – the outcome is not very surprising”. The report also said that cities are places of ecosystems and birth and “(speak) to us every day, whereas the nation does so only once in a while”.

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