Booz & Company’s Global Innovation 1000 highlights certain anomalies, not least all the contrast between those companies that actually make the list of heavy R&D spenders and those that are perceived to be leading innovation companies. Of this latter group you have to pass through Apple, Google, 3M and GE before arriving at the fifth company, Toyota, that is identified as a top R&D investor.  Is it that perceived innovators have a better batting average? This is not borne by the report itself. Maybe they manage their “Innovation Image” better? More than a third of the big spenders are healthcare companies and what is clear is that few people understand what’s happening in the sector – not a single company featured in the perceived list. Would someone like to put up the argument that the iPod was a more important innovation than the cardiac stent?

Defining innovation strategies in terms of need seekers, market readers and technology drivers and then a list of unrelated competencies doesn’t help. For example, anyone who has read Ken Auletta’s “Googled” would come to the conclusion that Google is a great search company but has struggled in finding a focus outside of that space.

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