For the third year in a row, 3M has been named the third most-innovative company in the world, according to the Booz & Company annual global survey on innovation. No surprise, Apple retained the number one spot and Google stayed in second place. Following 3M were Samsung, GE, Microsoft, and Toyota. P&G and IBM tied, and Amazon rounded out the top 10.
The study also reaffirmed that there is not a direct correlation between spending on research and development, often thought to be an indication of innovation, and innovation ranking. In fact, Apple ranked 53rd in global R&D spending, Google ranked 26th, and 3M ranked 86th. The only companies that received top-10 status in both innovation and R&D spending were Toyota, which ranked number one in R&D spending, and Samsung, which ranked 6th in total R&D spend.
Even though Apple ranks number one when it comes to innovation, it has the lowest percentage of R&D-spend-to-sales, at 2.2 percent. 3M’s percentage was 5.3 percent, and the highest R&D-to-sales ratio among the top 10 was Samsung, at 13.6 percent.
Another interesting finding in the study: “There’s no long-term correlation between the amount of money a company spends on its innovation efforts and its overall financial performance; instead, what matters is how companies use that money and other resources, as well as the quality of their talent, processes, and decision making.”
In 3M’s case, its long history of allowing its scientists to spend 15 percent of their time on whatever projects they choose continues to be a key ingredient in the company’s secret innovation sauce.