From Silicon Valley to Shanghai, cities are increasingly seen as engines of economic progress. Cities bring together diverse groups of people and companies in ways that increase productivity and create the networks, clusters, and chance interactions that lead to the discovery of new innovations and the creations of new entrepreneurial businesses. Up until now, the economic performance of cities has been gauged in terms of the education or human capital level of residents or the kinds of work they do.
But new research by my colleagues at the Martin Prosperity Institute sheds lights on the relationship between cities and three underlying types of workforce skills – physical skills of the sort used in manufacturing, analytical or cognitive skills, and social intelligence skills like the ability to direct teams, form entrepreneurial new businesses and organizations, and mobilize both people and resources behind common causes and objectives. The chart below plots the distribution of these three sets of skills by city size. (more…)