Cities are crucial to our continued ability to innovate and compete. We tend to think about individual gifts of insight when we think about nnovation—researchers in crisp, white lab coats, slick tech entrepreneurs with fancy gadgets and VC’s doing inspired deals. But, innovation is really a messy business. It is full of blind alleys and half-baked ideas, random collisions and abrupt changes in direction. Ideas mix and recombine, fail, reemerge and, in the end, a precious few become wildly successful.
Innovation, most of all, is driven by collaboration. So it takes more than just smart people, but diversity as well. Different people, working on different things, colliding together in unexpected ways is what brings about important new ideas. That’s why, more than anything else, vibrant cities are crucial to our continued ability to innovate and compete.