How to be a top global innovator

The USA, Japan and France lead the way in the 2016 top 100 Global innovators.

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Patents are considered a key measure of innovation.  The Clarivate Analytics Top 100 Global Innovators methodology uses citation and patent data across four criteria: Volume, success, globalisation and influence.

Key findings

  • A positive correlation between R&D spend and appearance on the top 100 list
  • A move from quantity to quality – the top 100 innovators have filed fewer inventions this year
  • Significant diversification in R&D spending reflecting the diversification of businesses (e.g. Google developing driverless cars; Hitachi investing in medical devices; Amazon developing drone technology)
  • Four principal areas of tech innovation:
    • Transmission of information (telecoms and wireless TV etc)
    • Semiconductors and batteries
    • Data processing
    • Medical devices and preparations
    • The internet of things is encouraging organisations to broaden their range of protected technology as products may soon 'play' in other areas (a watch is never no longer 'just' a watch)
    • Two countries (the USA and Japan) account for 73% of the top 100 list
    • They are followed by France (10%); Germany (4%); Korea and Switzerland (3%); and the Netherlands (2%)
    • France is home of three of the world’s top 5 government/institutional research organisations (CEA - Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission; CNRS – the National Center for Scientific Research; and IFP – French Institute of Petroleum)

How to be a consistent innovator

Investment in R&D – even in tough economic times – has a direct impact on future success.  Companies appearing in the top 100 were committed to investing in R&D when others were retreating during economic recession.

The data also shows that organisations that invest in their intellectual property infrastructure are more successful at commercialising their innovations. Organisations that are consistently appearing in the Top 100 list (for six years or more) are investing in the effective protection of their technology while ensuring they are not infringing by investing in patent search.

The report also features some sectoral analysis (automotive; pharma).  The full report can be downloaded here.