The Culture of Innovation. What Makes San Francisco Bay Area Companies Different?

by | Mar 24, 2012

The claim has long been made that companies based in the San Francisco Bay Area owe their leadership in innovation to something different in how they go about the innovation process.

This represents the first empirical assessment of the “culture of innovation” that characterizes these innovation leaders. The goal is to contrast these companies with their global peers in order to better understand where the source of their innovative prowess lies.

For almost a decade, in its annual Global Innovation 1000 study, Booz & Company has ranked the top 1,000 public companies by their research and development spending and analyzed how that spending influences their overall financial performance. The results are clear: success at innovation is not just a blend of hard elements such as the number of researchers, the amount that they receive in funding, or the number of patents they receive. Indeed, the study has consistently shown that the absolute amount spent does not correlate with financial performance at all.

Instead, the current study indicates that the most innovative companies appear to have a “secret sauce” that makes them different from their peers—a distinct culture of innovation that ensures that their chosen innovation strategy is clearly aligned with their overall corporatestrategy. This secret sauce is the glue that guarantees a high degree of coherence between what they aspire to achieve and how they go about it. Until recently, however, this claim has not been empirically tested.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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