New Report Calling North Dakota One of the Least Innovative States is Bullcrap
A new report from Wallet Hub released last week ranks North Dakota as one of the least innovative states in the country. This report is hogwash.
We use Wallet Hub as a reliable resource quite often here but we have to be honest on this one. This most recent report is so off-base.
Certainly based on Wallet Hub's 'indicators,' it would appear that North Dakota is not innovative. This is because there are not a lot of STEM professionals who reside here and there are not a lot of technology start-ups that are based in North Dakota.
But North Dakota has continued to be a leader in one area: drones. We touched on this briefly last May but there is so much more to be discussed.
First, let's remind you that North Dakota is home to the Northern Plains UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) Test Site, the largest test site of its kind in the United States.
We checked in with Brian Opp from the North Dakota Department of Commerce who happily filled us in on some of the great advancements that have been made in the drone industry in North Dakota over the last year:
- Last April, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site assisted NASA with their testing initiatives.
- Last July, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems launched a UAS training facility in Grand Forks.
- Northrop Grumman will have their ribbon cutting at a facility in Grand Forks later this Spring. They broke ground back in 2015.
- SkySkopes, a drone flight services company announced in December that they will expand to Minot.
- Also in December, North Dakota's Northern Plains UAS Test Site allowed for further research initiatives for the FAA.
- In December, the UAS Test Site received approval from the FAA to allow for 'Beyond Visual Line of Site' capabilities.
- In conjunction with the last bullet point, Harris Corporation is partnering with North Dakota to further develop 'Beyond Line of Site' drones which will help in various industries like farming, and monitoring power lines.
- And just a few days ago, the website DroneLife called North Dakota the best state to start a drone business.
So although it may be true that these companies don't have their headquarters in North Dakota (or any offices in North Dakota at the moment), and although many or all of the employees are not from North Dakota, to say that North Dakota is not innovative is simply not true.
And as drones increase in popularity for personal and business use, North Dakota will likely continue to lead the charge in this industry. There will likely be many more drone developments over the course of this year and we are excited to see North Dakota help various companies innovate in this arena.
For what it's worth, Wallet Hub said North Dakota is the 46th most innovative state. That's an awfully low rating for a state that is leading the charge in an industry projected to be worth $127 billion by 2020 according to Bloomberg.