I call this the “un-innovative heat map on innovation” for obvious reasons.
First let me fill you on what the chart is trying to show. Folks at McK got curious to know how innovation around the world is and partnered with World Economic Forum to create this heat map. The map shows innovation clusters (sized based on the number of patents won) on 2 dimensions – Diversity (how many companies & patent sectors are in the cluster) and Momentum (growth rate of patents). If you are wondering what a cluster is, it is a city.
Well, Mckinsey folks are always keen to plot anything including your cat on two dimensions. So they created a gazillion bubbles and plotted them on 2 axes and conveniently sliced the area in to 9 parts and named them like hot springs, shrinking pools, molten lava (well, not really, but the first two are true, I swear!!!)
One of the primary shortfalls of this heat map is, it takes innovation clusters (cities) that already have geographical co-ordinates and plots them in a way that is unreadable.
How could they have improved this heat map?
Instead of plotting the bubbles on 2 dimensions like diversity and momentum, they should have used simple google maps API or Many eyes world map visualization and colored the bubbles based on whether the cluster is in a hot spring or a stinking ooops, shrinking pool. That would have improved the effectiveness of this heat map so much more. Hey, it also helps you locate your state or city easily.
Your comments on this heat map – Hot or not?