A friend sent me this fascinating portrait of where the brains of the West Midlands were living in 2006…

It’s a map that seems to agree with John Prescott’s recent comment that Birmingham was “a mistake”.

But it’s slightly encouraging to think that at least we do still have great swathes of brain-power in the region, even as our regional manufacturing base declines even further.

Especially considering that otherwise barren places such as Israel

“[in] a land almost devoid of natural resources. … Israel [is] the most impressive economic success story of the modern Middle East. In recent years, this small state has turned itself into a world technology powerhouse…”

… has built world-beating economies on sheer brain-power, enabled by free markets and high-technology. Could our local “doughnut” of brains power the same type of knowledge economy, given the chance? Or do we lack the required pioneer “out-on-the-edge” spirit?