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Quirky answers: where do today's inventors live and what are they inventing?

We wanted to share this brilliant infographic from the Quirky site that maps out where today’s inventors hail from and answers the question: “Does innovation flow from cities?

“Obviously, most of the ideas seem to be flowing from the big cities around the country: New York, L.A., San Francisco, Washington, etc. But adding up those figures, over half of Quirky’s submissions come from states with mega-cities (NY, CA, IL, TX, PA, AZ, TX, GA, VA, MA). Doing a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation, about half of America’s 300 million people live in those same states. In other words, the innovations seem to be flowing at a steady per capita rate; cities are not over-represented.

“This is precisely the opposite of what most studies of innovation would tell you: That cities account for the lion’s share of inventions flowing from countries around the world. This is usually attributed to the fact that cities and their greater densities afford amplified possibilities for interaction and idea exchange – which leads to more innovation. But what makes a site like Quirky interesting is that everyone gets a shot. Just look at the craziest outlier on the map: Montana, one of the most sparsely populated states in the country, accounts for nearly 7% of all the submissions to Quirky.”

Looking at the second graphic we see that “innovations seem to be centered around electronics, kitchen, and organization. Not terribly surprising in a way, but it tells you that those are the places where people find the most room for improvement in their lives. Put another way, these are the avenues that are already filled with the most tools that we interact with on a daily basis–and we invent by improving what we encounter every day.”

Quirky has a bunch of other great infographics on their site that break down the process of an invention from concept to sales floor and how to get your idea made. Be sure to tune in Friday at 10p for the series finale.