About IHM

Innovation Heatmap — a novel platform

The World Economic Forum, in partnership with McKinsey & Company, and visualization partners SAS and ESRI, introduced the Innovation Heatmap at the 2008 Annual Meeting in Davos. Aimed at senior executives and government leaders, the Innovation Heatmap is a powerful platform that sheds light on pressing questions about where and how innovation clusters emerge. Addressing the overabundance of dispersed innovation-related information, the Innovation Heatmap brings together the most relevant data and analyses to provide a visualized geography of innovation. The tool is an ongoing effort, whose features and functionalities will continually develop and evolve.

Innovation matters to business and government leaders

Innovation is at the top of the agenda for both business executives and government leaders. The former know that the future of their business depends on their capacity to innovate. The latter understand that long-term growth and economic development ultimately rest on collective innovation, and that policymakers can influence and nurture a climate that encourages innovation. The Innovation Heatmap aims to support both groups by shedding light on the most vital innovation related questions in their field.

What data is reliable and what data truly matters?

The Innovation Heatmap's contribution is not to collect or create additional data on innovation. There is already an abundance of innovation related indexes and rankings and much of it is easily accessible. One challenge is that such data is scattered across a number of incompatible sources. A second problem is that much of the data is fragmented or fundamentally unreliable. The first objective of the Innovation Heatmap is to introduce order and transparency by collecting, structuring and validating the most important data points — be they publicly available or proprietary information from our key partners.

Central repository

The core of the Innovation Heatmap is an extensive data repository covering the many facets of innovation. Over 700 different innovation indicators and potential drivers are included at the country level and a growing number at a city level. Geographical coverage currently includes some 125 countries, plus around 2,000 major city locations throughout the world. A wealth of different sources of information is represented — publicly available sources (e.g., the World Bank or the OECD) as well as proprietary data (e.g., research publication data from Thomson Scientific and data from academic collaborators, e.g., patent data from Professor Juan Alcacer).


A key feature of the Innovation Heatmap is its ability to provide country and city level visua-lization of all data and sector-specific indexes. You can select a particular index — say 'idea generation output' for the electronics sector — and visualize the performance of different countries. With one further click, the Innovation Heatmap allows you to zoom into a particular region, say Europe. The countries then appear in various shades, reflecting their ideation capacity. Countries appearing in white do not have data available for the particular data variable selected for analysis.

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