Looking for the next Silicon Valley? You're not alone. With growth slowing or stagnant in economies around the world, executives, entrepreneurs, and investors are on the hunt for hotbeds of original thinking and new-business creation, in search of people and startups that might give their own companies and portfolios a competitive edge.
Fortune scoured the globe for cities that share the San Francisco Bay Area's potent combination of creativity and capitalism. We started with data from the Global Innovation Index (co-published by Insead and the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization), which ranks countries based on a number of factors, including educational institutions and digital infrastructure. Crucially, the index also looks at results -- it essentially assigns extra credit to countries whose companies and institutions push their products and ideas out into the world.
We then looked closely at the cities and communities within the top countries that were leading the charge on innovation -- the places that are especially hospitable to companies seeking the mix of talent, curiosity, and risk taking that leads to game-changing new products and services. Northern European countries (some perhaps reaping the benefits of being outside the eurozone) dominated the list. If these cities keep churning out results, soon we won't be asking, "Where's the next Silicon Valley?" Instead the question on everyone's lips may be: "Where's the next Copenhagen?"
CEO Mark Zuckerberg would like to reach the country's 513 million Internet users. Too bad local entrepreneurs have beaten him to the punch.