WalletHub has released their list of 10 most innovative states, and Virginia comes in at seventh place. Both Maryland and Washington, D.C., also made the top 10.In many ways innovation is the backbone of U.S. economic growth. As technology and science advance, our country continues to push innovation forward. In fact, it is estimated that in 2018 the U.S. will have spent $553 billion on research and development, which is more than any other country in the world! So which states are the most innovative? WalletHub released their list of the 10 most innovative states, and all of the DMV states reached the top 10, with Virginia coming in at No. 7! WalletHub used a methodology that examined 22 factors, which fell into either the human capital category or the innovation environment category. In the human capital category were factors that included share of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals, projected STEM-job demand by 2020, and AP exam participation. While the innovation environment category had factors like share of technology companies, R&D spending per captia, and R&D intensity. Each factor was rated on a 100-point scale, then the states were given a weighted average across all 22 metrics to calculate their “State Innovation Index.” [caption id="attachment_7069" align="aligncenter" width="645"] Courtesy of Linkedin[/caption] Massachusetts came in first in the list of 10 most innovative states, with Maryland following at No. 2. Washington, D.C., ranked at No. 4, and Virginia at No. 7. Professor of Economics at Sinclair Community College Ribhi Daoud recommended that states wanting to be more innovative should give tax incentives for R&D, financial incentives for higher education and research, and support capital investments in product and process development.
Areas in all three DMV states are currently being considered for Amazon’s second headquarters and the states’ innovative background probably plays a large role. Certain factors such as tax-friendliness have been used by states to woo Amazon executives to their area and the Amazon executives have stated they are looking for an area with a highly educated workforce. Virginia came in with a total state innovation index score of 60.23, a human capital rank of fifth, and an innovation environment rank of 18th. Virginia was first in the sub-category of highest share of technology companies, placed fifth for highest share of STEM professionals, and placed fourth for highest projected STEM-job demand by 2020. Virginia has tied its score on the 10 most innovative states list in 2017. [caption id="attachment_7070" align="aligncenter" width="641"] Courtesy of Skyline Scenes[/caption] Many tech companies have flocked to Virginia. Companies such as AppAssure Software and ComScore are headquartered in Virginia, and Amazon has a large data center located in Northern Virginia. The Center for Innovative Technology is even headquartered in the state, creating "technology-based economic development strategies to accelerate innovation, imagination, and the next generation of technology and technology companies.” Virginia has been very welcoming to R&D and offers an income tax credit for R&D activities which Governor Terry McAuliffe recently strengthened in 2016. To read WalletHub's full report and rankings, click here. What do you think? What makes Virginia so innovative? Do you want the Amazon headquarters to come here? Tell us in the comments below!