The 10 Most Hi-Tech Cities in the World

When asked the question “which are the top 10 hi-tech cities in the world?”, even the most “tech savvy” candidates tend to have a hard time comparing and/or imagining what is happening on the other side of the globe. In this way, the question is worth asking, and frankly, is far from easy to answer. When searching on the web, most of rankings found in Shakespeare’s language, such as the Popsci or the Wired rankings, tend to focus exclusively on American cities. Personally, the ranking I found the most interesting was one published on the website of The Age, a mainstream newspaper from Melbourne, Australia. Based on six criteria (1. Broadband speed, cost and availability; 2. Wireless internet access; 3. Technology adoption; 4. Government support for technology; 5. Education and technology culture; 6. Future potential), here is their conclusion:

1. Seoul, South Korea;
2. Singapore, Singapore;
3. Tokyo, Japan;
4. Hong Kong, China;
5. Stockholm, Sweden;
6. San Francisco (and Silicon Valley), USA;
7. Tallinn, Estonia;
8. New York, USA;
9. Beijing, China;
10. New Songdo City, South Korea.

The presence of four cities (Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Songdo City) from the Four Asian Tigers is not surprising. However, the presence of cities like Stockholm (Sweden), Tallinn (Estonia) and New Songdo City (South Korea) is certainly something that yields the most expressions such as: “oh”, “ah”, “what’s that”, “are you kiddin’?”, “really?”.

The presence of Stockholm makes sense when looking at rankings that classify the city as the one with the fastest broadband speed in the OECD countries. Moreover, Stockholm is acting as a pioneer in the use of green technologies such as RFID technologies, and paired with the high number of engineers due in part to the presence of Ericsson, those could be factors that contribute in making this city’s ranking first among cities outside Asia.

The city of Tallinn, mostly unknown to North Americans, except for those who have learned the world’s capitals after the fall of the USSR, is known as the Silicon Valley of the Baltic Sea. The city is also known as being the first to organize an election vote on the internet using smartcards, as well as for its free wireless internet facilities across the city. Tallinn is also recognized for the well-known start-up Skype.

Finally, New Songdo City, situated 60 kilometers East from Seoul, is certainly the most fascinating city in this ranking. The city was built from scratch by Gale International, a real estate development and investment firm, and is considered by technology experts as the ultimate digital city of the future. Even if the city is still upon completion, it is already considered in the top 10 of the most hi-tech cities in the world.

New Songdo City - A New Worldwide High-Tech City Built from Scratch
New Songdo City - A New Worldwide High-Tech City Built from Scratch

I can briefly conclude this post by noting that it is nothing new for North America to be limping way behind Asian countries in terms of hi-tech development, and this ranking is only a glimpse of what’s coming next in technology development….

Jean-Francois Belisle

Enter your email address below to subscribe to this blog

Delivered by FeedBurner


The Art of Being Perceived as an Innovative Mind in Marketing

In many organizations you will find employees that are perceived as “innovative minds”. They are generally the ones who come with the brilliant ideas and trendy cool concepts that no one else in the organization have thought about. The first time you met these employees, you generally wonder how they do to be so innovative. However, when you become more acquainted with these individuals and you learn how they have become innovative, sometimes you realize that you can be perceived as an innovative mind too. So, what makes these employees so innovative? Personally I would limit my thinking to three simple hierarchically-related mantras. So here they are:

1. Get out of your comfort zone;
2. Explore what is done elsewhere in the world;
3. Adapt already existing so-called “new concepts” to your targeted audience.

The art of being perceived as innovative in Marketing
The art of being perceived as innovative in Marketing

1. Get out of your comfort zone

So let’s start with the first mantra: “Get out of your comfort zone”. This may seems obvious to many, but getting out of your comfort zone takes a huge amount of courage and discipline. Most well-known businessmen or artists had to use this quality at least once to meet their (career) objectives. This doesn’t mean being completely irrational, this means to take calculated risks that could generate strong outcomes. Imagine you are a media planner and an employee of yours proposed a media campaign targeted to youth that uses “old salty clichés” from the hip hop world. You think this concept can reach your targeted audience but you barely hate hip-hop music and you’re around 40 years old. What about buying some tickets for the next hip hop concert in your area? Find the “ethnographer” in you, just get out of your comfort zone!

2. Explore what is done elsewhere in the world

When you’re travelling a lot, you realize that some new campaigns on your national television are simply insignificant copies of successful campaigns that are launched elsewhere in the world. Imagine how much innovative ideas you can have if you have recently seen some of these campaigns when traveling or via the Internet. Personally, my lucky “13” cities list to find some cool concepts would include from West to East the following cities:

1. San Francisco
2. New York
3. Rio de Janeiro
4. Amsterdam
5. Stockholm
6. Paris
7. Johannesburg
8. Tel Aviv
9. Mumbai
10. Singapore
11. Melbourne
12. Beijing
13. Tokyo

3. Adapt already existing so-called “new concepts” to your targeted audience

Imagine you get out of your comfort zone, you pick the best “new concepts” from around the world and you adapt them to your targeted audience. What will your colleague think you are? Quite innovative, no? To be perceived as an innovative mind, the important is not to be the first to launch a concept in the world. What is most important is to be the first to launch that concept to your targeted population. Complete your mix with qualities such as (1) intelligence, (2) strong observational skills and (3) well-developed communication skills, and you got the perfect package. A good example of this is the popular lipdub by UQÀM students launched on YouTube during summer 2009. What did the UQÀM students do. Well, in summary they:

(1) Took the same concept HEC Montréal students have done months before,
(2) Choose one of the most popular song of the summer (Black Eyed Peas song) instead of an old Bryan Adams song,
(3) They communicate their creation to local Medias.

Was the concept really innovative? No way. Was it perceived as innovative? For sure. Final outcome: Around 4.5 million YouTube views and coverage at least all across North America. My verdict: Brilliant.


Briefly, remember that you don’t need to be the first one that has a real new concept in mind to be perceived as innovative, you only need to know where to find the information that no one else in your organization knows and adapt it to your targeted audience. What do you think about these three points?

Jean-Francois Belisle

Enter your email address below to subscribe to this blog

Delivered by FeedBurner