BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The world is constantly seeking new sources of innovation and inspiration. From novel new forms of entertainment to methods of increasing production and quality, the more innovative a society is, the better its’ economic and financial growth. While the United States may have a significant amount of debt, it goes without saying that for quite some time, we’ve been one of the most innovative countries in the world. However, certain parts of the US — and states, to be specific — are more innovative than others.

Earlier this week, Wallethub conducted a study regarding innovative states in America, weighing all 50 (and the District of Columbia) and ordering them from most innovative to least innovative. To get the best estimate, WalletHub evaluated two main dimensions (Human Capital and Innovation Environment), which were then evaluated on 22 relevant metrics ranging from tech company density to share of STEM professionals and graded on a 100-point scale. Each state’s weighted average across all metrics was then used to calculate its overall score.

During the study, it was determined that while North Dakota may have a very strong and growing economy, when it comes to actual innovation, it is extremely lacking. Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, ND ranked almost the lowest, ending in 49th place out of 51 areas analyzed.

RankStateWalletHub State Innovation IndexHuman Capital ScoreInnovation Environment Score
45South Dakota29.944047
48West Virginia27.034251
49North Dakota26.824941

Of particular note was an especially low amount of projected demand for STEM jobs by 2030 — in which North Dakota actually scored lower than its overall ranking.

50North Dakota

There are still ways that we can foster the process of innovation — but our government will need to play a part in encouraging them to happen.

“Innovation tends to have significantly positive geographical spillovers (meaning firms, institutions, or individuals at close locations benefit from frequent collaborations, sharing of ideas, etc.),” says Emory University’s Tian Heong Chan in a press release. “So fostering/encouraging some kind of innovation hub (if none or few exist in the state) whereby such positive benefits of co-location can happen would be a good start. I also think that the presence of maker spaces or coding spaces where young kids can play and tinker with building products/software codes is useful to encourage innovation from a young age.”

“We need to understand that innovation is not only about new-to-the-world types of products or services, or high-tech gadgets,” states Professor and Coleman Chair of Entrepreneurship at Depaul University Maija Renko in the release. “There is a lot of everyday innovation happening in communities across the country. Sometimes innovations concern systems and changing established ways of doing things, and may not involve any technology. However, regardless of the type of innovation we are talking about (radical, incremental, breakthrough, or every day), every innovation needs human capital as its fuel. So investments in equitable, high-quality education at every level of the educational system are the key. There is no way around that if you want to see innovation as an outcome.”

To view the full study regarding innovation in the states, including a full list of the 51 surveyed areas sorted by overall score, visit this page on WalletHub’s website.