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The Distinct Personality of Entrepreneurial Cities

How to create the next Silicon Valley – that is the question. The answer most people who care to take a stab at it is usually to add a bunch of VC money to a research institution or to a concentrated area of new tech development.

But they’re wrong.

New social science research indicates that “knowledge and talent” and vast quantities of money are insufficient. It takes what one researcher boiled down to “openness and curiosity” – which must be cultural…deeply cultural, to the point at which these characteristics identify the city, or become its personality.

The study advances the basic idea that resources such as great universities, venture capital, and talented people are necessary, though insufficient conditions to power high levels of regional innovation by themselves. The missing factor is the entrepreneurial culture (an environment that fosters entrepreneurship) or entrepreneurial personality of a place, a combination of specific traits made up of the Five-Factor Theory of Personality: high levels of openness combined with extraversion and conscientiousness. In other words, entrepreneurs have the drive and resilience to overcome obstacles, are more open to new ideas, and are able to connect with people, build and lead teams, and get things done.

So, now I have to ask – does Peoria have an entrepreneurial personality?

Not yet.


Original article by Richard Florida, published by City Lab.

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