Innovation by-the-numbers


Patent data offers a sneak peak on tomorrow’s breakthroughs and highlights the role government can play in fostering innovation. Bob Stembridge at Thomson Reuters IP Solutions reports.

The title “innovator” gets thrown around like trophies at a children’s sporting event these days: it seems like just about everyone gets one just for showing up. But what separates real, sustainable, world-changing innovation from the litany of me-too products and also-rans that pose as innovative? What are the element parts that separate things such as the light bulb, Lipitor and the iPhone from the myriad great ideas that fall shy of such lofty status? Patents can help us answer that question.

While there are many ways to measure innovation, very few get beyond subjective notions of creativity or pop culture influence. But real innovation is much more than a great idea or a single popular product: it is a series of choreographed events that can be repeated on command. It takes significant financial investment, a global vision and a culture of experimentation to achieve. For those reasons, any attempt to objectively measure innovation in quantitative terms must embody the intersection of R&D and corporate strategy.

Put simply: to measure real-world innovation, you need to be able to determine whether the company behind the proclamation is able to justify its claim. As the adage goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Thomson Reuters has done just that with its third annual Top 100 Global Innovators study. Launched in 2011, the program identifies the most innovative organizations in the world through a series of patentbased metrics including overall innovation (patent) activity, success rate, globalization and influence.

By tapping these metrics, we are able to get a clear read on where innovation is occurring, and which companies are leading the way. The goal of our report is to take a snapshot of key technology areas and regions of the world that are known hotbeds of innovation and then dig down into the individual patent profiles of each to glean insight on what tomorrow’s hot spots of technology might look like. Request a free trial to read more.

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