The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has ranked the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia on how well their regulatory environments embrace the development of new technology and its related businesses. Released today, the CEA’s inaugural Innovation Scorecard rates the states grade-school style, doling out As through Fs for their progress—or lack thereof—across 10 categories, using data from 2014. The categories include the presence of right-to-work laws, stringency of tax policies, access to high-speed Internet, the value of venture-capital investment, the size of the technology workforce, and the flexibility of sustainability regulations.
The CEA then combined and assessed the grades to group the states and D.C. into four categories. Innovation Champions are states that top the list across all metrics. They are followed by Innovation Leaders, which also rank high consistently, particularly in the number of tech jobs per capita. In third place, Innovation Adopters vary in which categories they're strong, but they all struggle with accommodating the new sharing economy (think services like Uber and Airbnb). And finally, although Modest Innovators “would likely score extremely well as compared to jurisdictions in nearly every other country in the world,” says the CEA in a press release, these states rank last due to a combination of policy choices that fail to bolster innovation, slow Internet connection speeds, and fewer tech jobs per capita.
The report captures both the strides and shortcomings of each state related to the development of its tech sector. D.C., for example, leads the country in tech jobs per capita while Delaware offers the fastest average Internet speed. The report points out that states including Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, New York, and Nevada have pushed back on sharing-economy services such as Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb.
“While some states actively support entrepreneurs and growing businesses, others have taken more modest approaches to innovation," said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro in the press release. "It’s important that our scorecard recognizes the positive steps states have taken to advance innovation, as well as the areas in which they can improve.”
The CEA plans to update the scorecard in 2016. See the interactive scorecard here.