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Top 'innovators' Rank Low in R&d Spending


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Apple patent figure

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Many companies are devoted to innovation but they tend to have little to show for their spending on research and development, according to a new Booz & Co. report.

After identifying 1,000 companies with the biggest research and development budgets in 2010, Booz asked 600 executives from those companies to rate which ones they considered to be the most innovative. The top five spenders in the report are health care companies, but the executives did not rank them among the top 10 innovators. Pfizer ranked second for R&D spending, but 16th for innovation.

Apple led the ranking in innovation, followed by Google, 3M, General Electric, and Microsoft. In R&D spending, Microsoft ranked fourth, but Apple was 70th, Google 34th, 3M 86th, and General Electric was 32nd.

Management experts say there are ways companies can encourage creativity regardless of industry. For example, 3M offers seed grants to support innovation. Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter says the most innovative companies involve all employees to help generate ideas by holding interdepartmental brainstorming sessions, offering to fund creative projects, or by providing a forum for recommendations.

From The Wall Street Journal
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