Asia has for the first time overtaken Europe in its number of innovation centers built and operated, with the region now host to nearly a third (29%) of all such centers globally. In our latest analysis, Asia added more innovation centers than any other region. So strong is Asia’s growth that it could soon overtake the US as the biggest hub of innovation centers, if it continues to grow at the same rate. The availability of talent is a key driver for growth. Of the 14 new Fintech innovation centers established globally between March and October 2016, 5 of these were in Asia as organizations look to tap into the region’s talent pool to meet changing customer needs. Four out of the nine new artificial intelligence (AI) focused innovation centers in the March-October 2016 period were opened in Asia. Asia’s increasing influence is also due to a culture of technology-driven innovation and Government support. This has led to heavy investment not only from Asian companies, but from Europe and US-based giants too. Five key innovation hubs – Singapore, Bangalore, Shanghai, Tokyo and Tel Aviv – are driving Asia’s rise; these five cities in our global top 10 rankings together account for 36% of all Asian innovation centers.
With more and more companies joining the innovation center movement, and the volume and speed of openings accelerating, the pressure on established innovation centers increases. They need to quickly deliver results or risk losing further investments to newer locations. Similarly, for the newly established centers, the expected time to go from idea to innovation is reducing.
Note: Innovation centers, typically physical sites located in major global technology hubs, are increasingly being set up by large organizations as they seek to contend with digital disruption and transform themselves. When operated successfully, innovation centers allow large organizations to leverage an ecosystem of startups, venture capitalists, accelerators, vendors, and academic institutions in order to develop breakthrough products and solutions.