The Envelope Please
With our expertise in regional economics, it's no wonder that the Institute's annual Best Performing Cities index gets so much attention from the media – not to mention from the top-ranked metros taking a victory lap and from those down the list that want to ascend in next year's list. Unlike surveys that focus on quality-of-life metrics, our index is built around measures of jobs, wages and technology performance. All told, 379 metros across the United States are ranked. This year's index, released in December, was a tale of technology and energy. The top five metros – Austin, Provo, San Francisco, San Jose and Salt Lake City – are all thriving tech centers. Meanwhile, 9 of the other top 25 were thrust into the spotlight by the shale oil and gas boom.
Curious where your hometown ranks? You'll find everything you ever wanted to know at our custom data site, www.best-cities.org.
"Partnering for Cures is the meeting I choose to attend each year," kvelled one of participants at the fifth annual event, held in New York in November. "It's where innovators come together to collaborate to find cures – smarter and quicker." This year's "P4C" brought nearly 1,000 leaders from across sectors in medical research, and not just to hear expert panels that included Francis Collins (Director of the National Institutes of Health), Ariti Prabhakar (Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and Tom Frieden (Director of the Centers for Disease Control). More than 800 one-on-one partnering meetings were arranged across the three days of the conference, allowing entrepreneurs with potential life-extending ideas to meet with venture capitalists looking for ways to do well by doing good.
New Format, New Focus
The Milken Institute is California born and bred, and one of the hallmarks of our home state is openness to innovation. For more than a decade, our California Center has held annual meetings to bring together leaders from across the Golden State to focus on its most pressing issues and to chart practical solutions. In years past, attendees typically exceeded 500, with most sessions open to the media. But last November, we tried something different. A considerably smaller group met at the Institute's headquarters in Santa Monica for sessions designed to give participants a chance to candidly discuss issues ranging from the quality of the business environment (and how to make it friendlier) to the responsiveness of Sacramento to the state's needs. Gov. Jerry Brown keynoted the California Summit, reminding attendees that "our wealth is in the minds of our people."