3M Trails Only Apple, Google on Top Innovators List

An annual study found that the companies that are seen as the world’s top innovators—including 3M—are not necessarily those that spend the most money on research and development.
3M Trails Only Apple, Google on Top Innovators List

3M Company has once again been named the third-most innovative company in the world by global consulting firm Booz & Company.

The Maplewood-based company has ranked third—behind Cupertino, California-based Apple and Mountain View, California-based Google, respectively—for three consecutive years in the firm’s annual study.

The ranking is based on a survey, which asked 700 “innovation leaders” from companies throughout the world which businesses they perceive as the world’s most innovative.

Rounding out the top 10 most innovative companies are Samsung, General Electric, Microsoft, Toyota, Procter & Gamble, IBM, and Amazon, which displaced Facebook on this year’s list.

Booz & Company’s study also examined the 1,000 public companies that spent the most on research and development in 2011. It found that innovation spending reached a record high of $603 billion during the year, up 9.6 percent from $550 billion in 2010. North American companies outpaced the global average, boosting R&D spending by 9.7 percent.

The top R&D spender was Japan-based Toyota, followed by Swiss firms Novartis and Roche. But the study found that the companies that are seen as the world’s top innovators are seldom the biggest spenders; in fact, 3M, Apple, and Google were all absent from the list of top 20 R&D spenders. (3M spent approximately $1.6 billion on R&D last year, ranking 86th overall.)

“Consistent with our study findings from previous years, there is no long-term correlation between the amount spent on innovation and an organization’s overall financial success,” Booz & Company Senior Partner Barry Jaruzelski said in a statement. “What really matters is not the amount spent, but how those R&D funds are invested in talent, process, and tools.”

To view the list of the world’s 10 most innovative companies and compare it to past years, click here.

To download Booz & Company’s complete study, click here.

3M is Minnesota’s fifth-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $29.6 billion in 2011. The company employs about 84,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries; it recently announced plans to build a new lab facility at its Maplewood headquarters campus, one that will house roughly 700 researchers.