Some time ago I wrote a paper arguing that cities and nations should implement outside-the-box policies to attract innovative minds. I proposed a set of specific actions, recommendations for Europe if it wants to remain competitive in the 21st century:

  • Open European labor markets fully to innovative minds (IMs), especially for those with innovation track record
  • Create conditions such that innovations will breed (huge salaries/performance bonuses, IM social safety, spouse program for each IM, infrastructure supporting research)
  • Launch a program to source IMs from universities/institutes worldwide
  • Create European network of IMs
  • Create markets for innovations
  • Make funding innovations easy
  • Create markets to hedge risks related to innovation process (e.g. Innovation Default Swaps – similar to Credit Default Swap)
  • Teach innovation from primary school to university
  • Make a rule that nobody graduates without producing innovation, new idea (encourage team-work, extra points for intercontinental / multinational teams). New innovation could range from new business process, new computer algorithm, to new cozy logo for a cellphone or a washing powder that does sell
  • Make a rule that every student has to spend one year outside the country (provide adequate funding) to build global relationship capital
  • Make government a source of innovation (e-government for example, look in Dubai or Singapore for good examples)
  • Change GDP accounting: start treating wages and bonuses of IMs and R and D outlays as investments, not as costs

Below you can find a link to China Daily article that shows what a large Chinese city Shenzhen is doing to attract innovative minds. In the 21st century European cities should probably start learing from Chinese (Asian) ones how to implement modern urban policy, how to create an intelligent city that attracts innovative minds. Shenzhen is implementing some of the above bullet points.