Who wins in an era as crazy-chaotic and ever-changing as this?

Innovators, that’s who.

We can’t bank on doing the same-old same-old anymore. What got us here won’t get us there. Our competitive advantages won’t last; time to find some new ones.

And who are today’s innovators?

Chances are you’ll find most of them in the mid-Atlantic.

The folks at WalletHub have released their 2017 list of the most innovative states in the nation. The methodology combines human capital (share of STEM professionals, share of science and engineering graduates, scientific knowledge output, etc.) with innovation environments (share of technology companies, R&D spending per capita, entrepreneurial activity, and tax-friendliness, for instance).

The results? Washington, D.C., comes out on top, and Maryland is a step behind at No. 2.

“Innovation is a principal driver of U.S. economic growth,” the study states. “In 2016, the U.S. spent an estimated $514 billion on research and development — more than any other country in the world — helping the nation rank No. 4 on the Global Innovation Index. According to the results of the ranking, knowledge and technology outputs are America’s particular strengths.

“But certain states are due more credit than others for America’s dominance in the tech era. These states continue to foster innovation through investments in education, research and business creation, especially in highly specialized industries.”

Given the way D.C. and Maryland CPAs are anticipating the future and creating new business models, the results are hardly surprising, but they are reaffirming nonetheless.

Rounding out the top 10 are Massachusetts, California, Colorado, Washington, Virginia, Utah, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.

Find out how your state compares in every category here.

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