Thomson Reuters has released its 2012 list of the top 100 global innovators, with Apple and Google among the companies featured, but there’s plenty of inspiration for start-ups to draw on.
The 2012 list focuses on companies that are responsible for generating a “sizeable amount” of innovation.
All organisations with 100 or more “innovative” patents from the most recent three years were included.
An innovative patent is defined as the first publication in a patent document of a new technology, drug, business process, etc.
The methodology is based on four main criteria: “overall patent volume”, “patent grant success rate”, “global reach of the portfolio” and “patent influence as evidenced by citations”.
Here are three companies start-ups can learn from:
1. John Deere
Today, Deere & Company is one of the world’s most admired businesses.
But when it was founded in 1837, John Deere – blacksmith and inventor – had little more than a blacksmith shop, a discarded steel saw and an idea that would help farmers.
The US-based company, famous for its tractors, is now a leader in the manufacturing and financing of equipment for agriculture, construction, forestry and turf care.
Despite being 175 years old, it has continued to innovate.
The company says while living up to a legacy isn’t always easy, its commitment to those who are “linked to the land” enables it to distinguish itself in the marketplace.
The L’Oréal Group is the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty company, with a portfolio that includes 27 international brands such as Lancôme, Giorgio Armani and Stella McCartney.
In 1907, a French chemist named Eugène Schueller developed a hair dye formula called Auréale. Schueller formulated and manufactured his own products, which he sold to hairdressers.
In 1919, Schueller registered his company, the Société Française de Teintures Inoffensives pour Cheveux, which eventually became L’Oréal.
The company is active in the dermatological fields, tissue engineering and pharmaceutical fields, and is the top nanotechnology patent holder in the US.
Originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports, Nike was founded in 1964 by University of Oregon track athlete Philip Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman. It officially became Nike in 1978.
The company, named after the Greek goddess of victory, is a designer, marketer and distributor of athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for sports and fitness activities.
Subsidiaries include Converse, Cole Haan, Umbro and Hurley International. The Nike brand alone is valued at $10.7 billion, making it the most valuable brand among sports businesses.
Throughout the 1980s, Nike expanded its product line to encompass sports and regions throughout the world. In 1998, the now-famous slogan “Just Do It” was coined for an advertising campaign.
In addition to its innovative store layouts, Nike is well known for its logo – the Nike “Swoosh”.