Patents are just one measure of innovation, but in an area of inquiry that's as mysterious as it is consequential, we'll take what we can get.
Minnesota continues to generate a lot of patents, specifically in the Twin Cities and Rochester, according to data put together by the Brookings Institute.
The Twin Cities has the ninth-highest concentration of patents issued of any metropolitan area in America, an average of 3,068 per year between 2007 and 2011. The top patent-creating companies in the Twin Cities are 3M, Cardiac Pacemakers, Medtronic, Honeywell, Seagate and Boston Scientific.
And Rochester, thanks mostly to IBM, has the third-highest patents issued per capita in the country, behind only San Jose (read: Silicon Valley) and Burlington, Vermont, which also has a big IBM operation.