Innovation continues to rise in importance. In The Boston Consulting Group’s tenth annual global survey of the state of innovation, 79% of respondents ranked innovation as either the top-most priority or a top-three priority at their company, the highest percentage since we began asking the question in 2005, when 66% said innovation was their top or among their three top priorities. (See Exhibit 1.) At the same time, science and technology continue to be seen as increasingly important underpinnings of innovation, enabling four attributes that many executives identify as critical: an emphasis on speed, well-run (and very often lean) R&D processes, the use of technological platforms, and the systematic exploration of adjacent markets.
The importance of these four attributes—and of science and technology in general—is not new. Looking back over our surveys of the last ten years, we see that the companies that made the list of the 50 most innovative companies in at least nine out of ten of them—Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Toyota, BMW, Amazon, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, Cisco Systems, Nike, Sony, Intel, Procter & Gamble, and Walmart—are all strongly associated with many of those capabilities.