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Illinois Innovation Index Releases Annual Report Showcasing Metrics from Past Year


The Illinois Innovation Index, a collaborative publication that reports on key metrics of the Illinois innovation economy, today released its Annual Report, which demonstrates the Chicago region and the state of Illinois have recorded improved economic growth, new business growth and jobs.


The Index is developed by the Chicagoland Chamber of CommerceChicago Metropolitan Agency for PlanningIllinois Science & Technology Coalition and World Business Chicago, in partnership with the Illinois Innovation Council (IIC).

An event will be held tonight at 1871 in Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart to celebrate the Index’s first year and the release of the first Annual Report.  In attendance will be leaders of the four organizations that created the publication and members of the IIC, which was convened by Governor Quinn in February 2011. To foster additional awareness and dialogue surrounding Illinois’ commitment to innovation, attendees are encouraged to live-Tweet from the event using the hashtag #ILInnovation.

The organizations developed the Index, which was published monthly from September 2011 through August 2012, to establish a narrative about innovation based on the most meaningful metrics; to measure change through up-to-date data and information; and to bring stakeholders together through a data-driven conversation about innovation. The Index, which will be released on a quarterly basis in 2013, employs technology and new digital media to generate benchmarks across a range of areas that include business climate, capital, talent and dynamism.

What the Metrics Illuminate

After its initial year, the Index showed, among other things:

  • Business Climate: Since 2001, Illinois has ranked fifth among the states in the value of its exports; 69 percent of Chicago-region entrepreneurs are seeking seed stage or early-stage funding; and commercial Internet subscriber rates are double that of national subscriber growth rate.
  • Capital: In venture-capital funding, Illinois achieved a 10-year high of $1.4 billion in 2012; 13 Illinois universities ranked in the top one-third of the nation for research and development funding; and 431 private companies engaged in research and development in the Chicago metropolitan area.
  • Talent:  Degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics represented 11 percent of all degrees in Illinois, below the national average of 14 percent; and several high-tech occupations rank among the top 10 jobs in the Chicago metropolitan area where hiring is done online.
  • Dynamism: The number of Illinois academic patents climbed by a record 54 percent from 1997 to 2008; by cluster, Illinois job creation is lagging behind national trends although some clusters are seeing high rates of growth; and business starts in 2011 were 13,000 in the seven-county Chicago region.

“The state of innovation in the State of Illinois is great,” said Howard Tullman, president and CEO of the Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy and a member of the IIC. “The best news is that, as the Index has demonstrated, we’ve actually got the goods right here in Chicago and Illinois; real growth, real innovation, tremendous expansion in new businesses, and real results all concretely documented for the first time.”

Tullman added, “The Index is one of the ways we can ‘keep score’ and make sure that we keep moving forward and demonstrating our progress to the broader public.”

In a joint introduction to the Annual Report, the heads of the four organizations that helped establish the index noted that nearly every state is focused today on promoting innovation as a driver of economic development.

“With such a far-reaching concept, however, progress can be a noble if somewhat amorphous goal,” the organization heads explained.  “To be successful, leaders must have a strong vision, rally numerous stakeholders to their cause, and be able to demonstrate progress. Accomplishing all three is a difficult challenge.”

In the coming years, the Index will revisit these indicators to assess the progress of the Chicago region and Illinois. To get the latest updates, sign up for the Index newsletter at

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