The World's Most Innovative Companies
The April 24 edition of Business Week magazine lists "the World's Top 25 Most Innovative Companies" for 2006. It notes that "creativity pays," calculating that the innovative companies had 3.4% annual profit margin growth over the past 10 years, compared to 0.4% annual growth for the median S&P Global 1200 companies.
Unfortunately, none of the top 25 companies are headquartered in the Pittsburgh Region.
The on-line edition lists the "Top 100 Most Innovative Companies" for 2006. None of the next 75 are headquartered here, either.
The good news, though, is that a number of the top companies on the list are coming to the Pittsburgh Region to find the innovations that are fueling their growth.
#1 on the list of most innovative companies is Apple Computer. It just located a research center at Carnegie Mellon last summer. Apple joined the #17 company on the list, Intel, in the Collaborative Innovation Center at CMU -- the only facility in the world where Apple and Intel will be working side-by-side.
#2 on the list is Google. It just announced last fall that it is locating a development center at Carnegie Mellon.
#3 on the list is Microsoft. It is using innovations developed at the Software Engineering Institute, and many Microsoft employees have been educated in Pittsburgh.
#10 on the list is IBM. It just announced a major R&D partnership with UPMC last year. IBM is also a principal member of the Technology Collaborative, taking advantage of technologies developed at Pittsburgh universities and startup firms, as does #28 Cisco, #67 Philips, and #97 John Deere.
A lot of the growth at #47 FedEx resulted from the innovations developed in Pittsburgh by Dan Sullivan in what is now FedEx Ground.
Product innovations developed here not only mean R&D jobs for the Pittsburgh Region, but they can also turn into manufacturing jobs here, too. For example, Sony has its only U.S. television plant in New Stanton, and it is successfully retooling to keep producing newer technology sets as CRT televisions go out of fashion, thereby retaining jobs.
Is helping more of these innovation-oriented companies an economic development opportunity for the Pittsburgh Region's future? The answer would seem to be "yes." A growing trend among many innovative companies is "open innovation" -- recognizing that there are a lot more ideas being developed at universities and in startup firms than a company could ever hope to develop solely within their own R&D labs. Moreover, there are a lot more ideas coming out of their corporate R&D labs than they could ever hope to commercialize themselves. The Pittsburgh Region has the kind of resources that open innovation companies want -- an almost unique combination of two major research universities, one of the top academic medical centers, and dozens of major corporate R&D centers at companies like Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies, Bayer, Crucible, Mine Safety Appliance, PPG, Seagate, U.S. Steel, and others. The wealth of ideas within this network could make Pittsburgh a leading international center for innovation in a number of different industries.