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From Site Selection magazine, September 2016

Report Cards Are Out – State Innovation Grades Are Above Average


A new state ranking from the Consumer Technology Association measures states’ innovation attributes across 10 criteria. The 2016 Innovation Scorecard is not the first index to do this, but it’s the only one we know of that includes states’ support of drones as a measure of innovation. That’s a new criterion in 2016 — the Scorecard was introduced in 2015. The others: Right to Work (states get an A+ or an F in this case — they are or they aren’t), Welcomes New Business Models, Tax Friendliness, Entrepreneurial Activity, Fast Internet, Tech Workforce, Attracts Investment, Grants STEM Degrees and Innovation-Friendly Sustainable Policies.

For purposes of this Upper Midwest regional report, select rankings and grades for these states appear here; these criteria will be of the most interest to the broadest spectrum of Site Selection readers. You’ll find the drone-friendly states, the full rankings and methodology and criteria definitions at

In broad terms, the CTA Innovation Scorecard tags each state with one of four monikers: Innovation Champion, Innovation Leader, Innovation Adopter or Modest Innovator (i.e., “needs some work”). In what can be seen as a nod to this region’s largely successful transformation from a traditional industrial base to an advanced, tech-savvy one, three of the six states claim an Innovation Champion ribbon: Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Two are Innovation Leaders — Iowa and Minnesota. Illinois is an Innovation Adopter. No Modest Innovators in this neck of the woods.

Why should states’ receptivity to innovation matter?

“Sensible tax structures, regulators who allow cutting-edge technologies to flourish, and legislators who welcome new kinds of businesses are crucial to sustaining innovation,” the Scorecard overview explains. “The states that enable innovators to do their work draw entrepreneurs from across the country, creating high-quality jobs and investing in a state’s healthy economy for the future.”

Following are select results for our Upper Midwest focus group with a state insight from the CTA authors to bear in mind.

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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