The Coronavirus Innovation Map launched together with Health Innovation Index (HIEx) by the UNAIDS and Moscow Agency of Innovations and other global information partners such as Crunchbase, Meetup, and SEMrush, now features hundreds of initiatives and solutions aiming to solve problems caused by the COVID-19 virus as well as to help people cope and adapt to life amid the global pandemic. You can read more about the map here.
As we learn about new projects every day, we would like to acknowledge and celebrate the innovators in the most active locations on the coronavirus innovation scene. We are proud to release the first-ever global COVID-19 Innovation Ranking featuring the top cities and countries on the scene.
The first run of the rankings reveals an interesting insight that some of the cities that have been badly hit by the crisis such as New York, Milan, Paris, London, Beijing, and Barcelona, are the ones that have been mostly over-performing in the charts. This is counterintuitive since those cities are in a major crisis, but still, manage to excel and innovate due to the needs they are facing.
As for the top 20 countries ranking, we see that specific countries in Europe such as Estonia, Switzerland, Italy, and Ireland are surprisingly over-performing in COVID-related innovation compared to their general rankings in our 2019 global ecosystem ranking report.
Coronavirus Innovation – Cities Rankings
San Francisco takes the top spot on the list of most innovative cities for coronavirus just like in our Global Ecosystem Report. We see that this city continues to top the rankings regardless of the industry and it is inspiring to see that it also comes first in the world when it comes to COVID-19 related innovation.
San Francisco is followed by two other US cities, also on the podium: Boston and New York. Boston is historically known for having great health-related startups and that is shown as it takes the second spot in this rankings. In the previous rankings we have done, we see that Boston is always in the top 5 cities but never second. This shows its resilience and excellence in producing health-related startups and initiatives. New York, on the other hand, is known for its FinTech startups but we see that it takes third. Its response and adaptation to the effects of the Coronavirus crisis have been outstanding considering that it has been one of the worst-hit areas in the world and we think that this is exactly why they’re excelling.
Toronto is featured in the fourth spot which is a higher sport compared to what we see in our general rankings, showing that this Canadian city is over-performing in response to COVID-19. It is followed by Milan which is the biggest surprise for us in this rankings. It usually ranks relatively low in the other rankings we have done in the past. Considering how badly hit the Milan region was during the crisis, they’re doing incredibly well. Closing in the top 5 is London which is usually in our top 3 cities in previous rankings. This shows that although it s actively innovating in the time of this pandemic it is relatively underperforming considering its potential.
Seattle takes 6th place which is higher than it’s usual ranking. As another city that has been badly hit by the crisis, we see a trend of the worst-hit cities innovating when faced with adversity. Zurich for a long time has been on the radar for global innovation but it doesn’t rank this high in our Ecosystem Rankings. It has been doing great in the deep tech field and has is also playing an active role in global initiatives that try to combat the effects of the pandemic. Moscow is a giant ecosystem that has to build its own unique and special solutions in many cases. Being a megacity, it seems that it has been developing innovations that has to deal with COVID-19. Paris is another badly hit city and it joins other badly hit cities that are overperforming.
Tel Aviv, at 11th spot, is doing really well. Although it is currently underperforming considering that it usually ranks higher in previous rankings where it was always in the top 10. Taipei City, at 12th, is an example of how Taiwan is doing amazing work in dealing with this crisis. They are leading the way in public policy on the ways to deal and contain the crisis. Dublin is another city that is overperforming considering how it usually ranks in previous reports. Beijing is in 14th place and since the pandemic originated from China it is natural to see various innovations coming from here. We notice that a lot of these Chinese innovations are local solutions, similar to Moscow, nevertheless, they still have a global impact.
The three US cities in the second half of the rankings, Austin, Denver, and Washington usually are not in the top 20 of our previous rankings but due to the impact of the crisis in the USA these cities are doing substantially well. Barcelona is another city that has been badly hit and we see that it does not rank as high as it usually does. However, it is ranked higher than Madrid showing that most Spanish innovations during this time are coming from this city.
Closing up the top 20 cities are Vancouver and Tallin. Both cities are usually not in our previous rankings and it shows that both are doing great in the face of this pandemic.
The first run of the rankings reveals an interesting insight that some of the cities that have been badly hit by the pandemic such as New York, Milan, Paris, London, Beijing, and Barcelona, are the ones that have been mostly over-performing in the charts. This is counterintuitive since those cities are in a major crisis, but still, manage to excel and innovate due to the needs they are facing. Also noteworthy that some top cities, such as Miland and Zurich, both in the top ten, stand out on the global coronavirus innovation scene, with a much better position than in the global startup ecosystem rankings, an assessment in a more general startup and innovation context, also by StartupBlink.
Coronavirus Innovation – Countries Rankings
The United States leads the global coronavirus innovation efforts, according to the rankings published by Coronavirus Innovation Map. While Canada takes the second spot, the rest of the top five spots are given to the relatively small nations of Estonia, Switzerland, and Israel. Also in the top ten are Ireland, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, and Spain. Although the top twenty list is dominated by Europe and North America, some of the most promising coronavirus innovations are also emerging in Asia (China, Taiwan, India, Philippines) and Australia, which appear in the second half of the top 20 rankings.
Two countries to note which do not have cities in the city rankings are Germany and Australia at 14th and 15th place, respectively. In the case of Germany, we see that although no single city stands out it has various cities that are producing innovative solutions. Similar to Germany, Australia also has a variety of cities that have coronavirus-related initiatives and this variety places it in the top 20 countries.
As for the top 20 countries ranking, we see that specific countries in Europe such as Estonia, Switzerland, Italy, and Ireland are surprisingly over-performing in COVID-related innovation compared to their general rankings in our 2019 global ecosystem rankings report. We also see countries such as Poland, Portugal, and the Philippines performing better than usual since they are not typically in the top 20 in previous rankings.
In its current form, the rankings consider the number of innovations in each city and country, with extra points given for selected outstanding initiatives, identified as the “champions”. Although StartupBlink has a broad experience in startup ecosystem research and rankings, this is only our early attempt to quantify innovation in the coronavirus context. The current COVID-19 Innovation Ranking methodology is not evergreen and we will continue adapting and innovating the algorithm as we gather more data.
The ranking will be updated regularly and you can influence it by submitting innovative projects related to COVID-19 here.
The world needs good news now. We hope that the rankings will energize and encourage the innovators around the world who will work even harder against the virus.