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Ninth Annual Global Innovation 1000 Study: Navigating the Digital Future


October 22, 2013 - NEW YORK, NY

Yearly R&D spending among the world's 1,000 largest public corporate R&D spenders has hit a record high of US$638 billion, according to global management consulting firm Booz & Company in its ninth annual Global Innovation 1000 study. However, despite the sustained overall increase in R&D budgets over the last decade, this year's findings show once again that higher spending doesn't guarantee bigger payoffs. Indeed, the 10 most innovative companies our study identified this year financially outperformed the world's top 10 spenders, despite actually spending significantly less on R&D. Additionally, the study shows that companies are spending 8.1 percent of their R&D budgets on digital tools to enable their innovation process -- either to boost productivity or to improve their ability to gain better insight into customer needs.

10 Most Innovative Companies: Apple and Google Reign; Tesla Debuts
Apple and Google took top honors for the fourth consecutive year, but there were some noticeable shake-ups on the latest Global Innovation 1000 study's survey ranking of the 10 most innovative companies. Samsung displaced 3M from the number three spot for the first time, capping its steady rise in the rankings, and Amazon also made a significant move up, jumping six spots into fourth place. New to the list this year was Tesla, making its debut in the number nine slot, and Facebook returned at number 10 after a hiatus last year. The full list can be found at: www.booz.com/innovation1000.

10 Most Innovative Companies Outperform Top R&D Spenders -- Again
Google and Sony joined the top 20 R&D spenders list this year, at number 12 and number 20, respectively. The vast majority of the companies on the list -- 18 in total -- were from the software & Internet, healthcare, and automotive industries, industries that, combined, accounted for nearly three-quarters of worldwide R&D spending growth in 2013. "The 22 percent increase in R&D spending among software and internet companies is likely driven by an increasing demand for digital products and services, creating more opportunities for cutting edge innovation," said Richard Holman, a partner at Booz & Company and coauthor of the study.

Higher R&D spending is no guarantee of better financial performance. This year's 10 most innovative companies outperformed the top 10 spenders on both five-year revenue and market-cap growth averages.

"For the ninth straight year, our research has demonstrated that there is no correlation between how much you spend and how well you perform over the long term," said Barry Jaruzelski, senior partner at Booz & Company and global leader of the Engineered Products & Services practice. "It has been proven time and time again that you can't buy your way to the top. When it comes to innovation, how you spend is much more important than how much you spend."

Today's Digital Innovation Tools: Must-Have Enablers and Much-Needed Experimentation
Each year, the Global Innovation 1000 study examines trends in how companies innovate. This year's study explores how companies are driving innovation using digital tools, including (1) productivity enablers such as rapid prototyping/3D printing (found to be the most effective tool for the ideation phase of the innovation process), simulation tools, and project management tools, as well as (2) market and customer insight enablers, such as discussion platforms, monitoring tools, and usage monitoring sensors. The global R&D executives surveyed as part of the study said their companies allocated an average of 8.1 percent of the R&D budget to digital tools, which suggests spending of about $52 billion when extrapolated to the top 1,000 R&D spenders. The study also found that respondents whose companies made significant use of these digital enablers were much more likely to report that they outperformed competitors financially than were those who employed enablers more moderately.

"There are a whole slew of digital tools available today. Productivity enablers like computer-aided design and project management are now mature and are must-haves for any competitive innovator. More recent tools, such as big data, usage sensors, and social voting are focused on generating deep customer insights to help create more compelling products. While these are still pretty new, they are beginning to prove their value in multiple industries," said John Loehr, partner at Booz & Company and global leader of the firm's Innovation practice. "It's still a risk to invest in them, but one everyone will have to take to stay at the forefront of innovation."

Other key findings from this year's Global Innovation 1000 study:

  • R&D spending in 2013 rose by 5.8 percent from the previous year, signaling a return to the long-term growth trend after two years of faster growth following the recession.
  • Regionally, companies headquartered in China increased R&D spending by 35.8 percent and added 50 percent more companies to the Global Innovation 1000 from 2012 to 2013 -- both the highest percentage increases of any major country. Although China's spending growth rate remains significantly higher than that of any other region, this is the second-lowest increase for the country in the last five years.
  • Ninety percent of R&D spending worldwide in 2013 was from companies headquartered in North America, Europe, and Japan.
  • R&D spending in Europe grew by 4.5 percent despite the region's ongoing economic pressures, slower than the global average.
  • Japan's R&D spending decreased by 3.6 percent in 2013, marking the first time since the 2008-09 recession that any major economy reported a decrease in R&D spending.
  • Computers & electronics, healthcare, and automotive remained the three largest industries in terms of total R&D spend in 2013, representing 65 percent of the global total.

To see a full copy of this year's Booz & Company Global Innovation 1000 study, or to learn more about its methodology, visit www.booz.com/innovation1000.

About Booz & Company
Booz & Company (booz.com) is a leading global management consulting firm focused on serving and shaping the senior agenda of the world's leading institutions. Drawing on the talents and insights of more than 3,000 people in 57 offices around the world, we help our clients achieve essential advantage by working with them to identify and build the differentiating capabilities they need to outperform.

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