You might think that a vibrant startup ecosystem, industry titans Microsoft and Amazon, and a top international research university make Seattle uniquely capable of adapting to technological innovation.
But a new study, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and business groups Free Enterprise and 1776, says there’s more to the story. Seattle ranked 11 out of 25 U.S. cities in readiness for “the inevitable shift to a digital economy.”
The report, titled “Innovation That Matters,” examined the talent pool, capital, industry specialization, density, connectivity, and culture of major tech cities in the U.S.
Boston tops the list for fostering innovation and entrepreneurial growth. The Bay Area scored high in most categories but the report says the region’s competitive spirit hinders collaboration, bumping it down to second place.
Seattle’s low and middling marks in quality of life, culture, and community collaboration were the main factors that negatively impacted its score. The Emerald City shines, however, when it comes to the talent pool. Seattle ranked second on the list for incoming residents with tech skills.
“The city’s robust population inflows, educated millennials, and skilled tech workforce make it a powerhouse when it comes to attracting top talent,” the study says.
Seattle also “shows impressive startup activity in urban centers,” with the majority of its startups headquartered in the city proper. Those startups are doing well, according to the study, but haven’t led to a clear specialization in any one industry.
“Within the ecosystem, support from professional service firms, universities and civic institutions such as city government are relative strengths,” the report says, “whereas lack of engaged corporations, citizens, cheerleaders, and mentors remain weaknesses.”