The Smart Centres Index 1

The Smart Centres Index (SCI) - Distributed Futures, July 2020

52 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2020

See all articles by Mike Wardle

Mike Wardle

Z/Yen Group

Michael Mainelli

Gresham College; Z/Yen Group

Date Written: July 14, 2020


The first edition of the Smart Centres Index (SCI) was published on 14 July 2020. SCI 1 rates the innovation and technology offerings of leading commercial and financial centres across the world.

The SCI focuses on centres in relation to their approach to and delivery of innovation and technology, including Science, Energy Systems, Machine Learning, Distributed Ledgers, and Fintech, along with other applications. We look at cities rather than countries in developing the index as we consider that it is in cities and other commercial clusters that the development of business is driven forward.

The Smart Centres Index is based on evaluations of three dimensions:

Innovation support - the approach taken to regulation and support for the innovation and technology industry provided by the commercial ecosystem.

Creative Intensity - the extent to which technology and innovative industries are embedded in the economy of the centre.

Delivery Capability - the quality of the work being undertaken in the field in the centre. future competitiveness and rankings for financial and commercial centres around the world.

128 commercial and financial centres were researched for SCI 1 of which 48 are included in the index. SCI 1 was compiled using 127 instrumental factors. These quantitative measures are provided by third parties including the World Bank, The Economist Intelligence Unit, the OECD, and the United Nations.

The instrumental factors are combined with financial centre assessments provided by respondents to the GFCI online questionnaire. SCI 1 uses 965 assessments from 92 respondents.

Index Results - London takes first place in the index, with new York second, and Singapore in third place.

Five of the top ten places in the ranking are taken by US centres.

The leading centres are strong across all three of the SCI dimensions.

Chinese centres do not feature as strongly as we might have expected, and score on average lower for Innovation Support than their overall rating.

The great majority of centres featured in SCI 1 are located in North America, Asia/Pacific, and Western Europe.

North America - Ten North American centres feature in the SCI, dominated by US centres, who hold five of the top ten places globally.

Along with ranking second overall, New York also ranks second in each of the three dimensions which make up the SCI.

Vancouver scores high in creative intensity, ranking 9th against its overall SCI ranking of 17th.

Asia/Pacific - Three of the 13 Asia/Pacific centres in the index - Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo - feature in the world top ten.

The majority of Asia/Pacific centres scored lower for innovation support, including regulation, than their overall ranking in the SCI.

Chinese centres such as Shenzhen, which have strong technology ecosystems, do not feature as highly in the index as we might have expected. This may be because those commenting on Chinese centres know more Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai better than other centres.

Western Europe - Twenty centres in Western Europe feature in the index, with London and Zurich in the global top ten.

The majority of Western European centres score higher for innovation support, including regulation, than their overall rank. This suggests that systems of public support for, and regulation of innovation and technology are a strength in the region.

Stockholm scores significantly higher than its overall rating in creative intensity, while Oxford and Cambridge in the UK score significantly higher for delivery capability.

Other Regions - Only five of the centres in SCI 1 are from other regions of the world - Middle East & Africa, Eastern Europe & Central Asia, and Latin America & The Caribbean.

Of these centres, Dubai is rated highest, ranked at 34th in the world.

Keywords: Financial Centres, SCI, Smart Centres Index, Innovation, Technology

JEL Classification: F01 – Global Outlook, O00 – General

Suggested Citation

Wardle, Mike and Mainelli, Michael and Mainelli, Michael, The Smart Centres Index 1 (July 14, 2020). The Smart Centres Index (SCI) - Distributed Futures, July 2020, Available at SSRN:

Mike Wardle (Contact Author)

Z/Yen Group ( email )

41 Lothbury
United Kingdom
07711434353 (Phone)
EC2R 7HG (Fax)


Michael Mainelli

Gresham College ( email )

Barnard's Inn Hall
London, EC1N 2HH
United Kingdom

Z/Yen Group ( email )

41 Lothbury
United Kingdom

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