The 2010 Innovation Awards: Danger Ahead?

This is the sixth year of Business Week’s Innovation Awards, and there are some disturbing signs in the data they’ve gathered. They highlighted the fact that 15 of the top 50 are now Asian companies—a statistic that was fairly predictable. Much more significant, however, is that one third of the American companies on the chart just five years ago are no longer on the list—including 3M, Starbucks and eBay. And even more disturbing, while 95% of CEOs in China rank innovation as key to economic growth, only 72% of CEOs in the U.S. agree. That figure could even be inflated, since when they tracked intent to increase innovation budgets, 88% of Chinese innovators were investing, compared to a measly 48% in the U.S. Now granted it’s been a tough couple of years in the economy, and most companies were busy cutting payrolls in the face of declining sales. But experts across the board agree that innovation is the only way U.S. companies can begin to compete and to put people back to work. It seems to me that if U.S. companies don’t start looking ahead, they are very soon going to be left behind.

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About Lynda Lawrence

Lynda Lawrence is an innovation consultant with Ideaworks Consulting. She teaches Strategic Innovation and Design Management at the Merage School at UCI, and is an advisor to the Beall Center.