Six insights from Booz & Company’s 2013 innovations report

Booz & Company released its 2013 Global Innovation 1000 Study on Tuesday. Here’s a quick look at some of the management consulting firm’s most interesting findings:


Cargo ships dock at a container wharf in the port of Tokyo. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Japan is in trouble.

Research and development in Japan shrunk by 3.6 percent. For a country that needs to awaken its economy, less money spent on innovation isn’t going to help. “They’re somewhat retrenching in level of spending they’re able to do or willing to do,” said Barry Jaruzelski, one of the report’s authors.


(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

2. Smartphones and tablets are the future.

The three most innovative companies in Booz & Co.’s rankings — Apple, Google and Samsung — are all major players in smartphones and tablets. “The pace of innovation in mobile and tablets is one of the most dynamic spaces where huge amounts of resources and attention is focused,” Jaruzelski said.


Apple CEO Tim Cook (Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

3. Apple is still king, for now.

The tech giant remains atop Booz & Co.’s rankings, with 62 percent of respondents identifying it as the top innovator. But that number is down from 80 percent in the 2012 study.


A worker sets up scaffolding at a construction site in Shanghai. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

4. China keeps growing.

Spending on research and development in China grew 35.8 percent, the largest gain around the world. However, that’s the second-smallest increase for China the past five years.


(Paul Sakuma/AP)

5. Health-care companies could learn from Tesla.

Five of the top 10 spenders on research and development are health-care companies, yet none made it onto Booz’s list of the 10 most innovative companies. Tesla has a research and development budget of  $300 million, an amount dwarfed by the budgets of the companies that are innovating far less.

6. Investments in innovation are alive and well.

And we end on a high note! The study looked at 1,000 public companies around the world that spent the most on research and development during the last fiscal year. That spending continues to grow, which generally bodes well for innovation and human development.

The rankings of innovative companies were drawn from an online survey of more than 400 senior managers and research and development professionals.

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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