It's not news that top-performing companies are putting resources into R&D. Last October, Thomson Reuters announced its Top 100 Global Innovators of 2013, and many on the list were not all that surprising; AT&T, Apple, Google, Ford, L’Oréal and Microsoft were among them. According to the report by R&D Magazine, "Proof: R&D Pays Off," to derive this list, Reuters looked at companies that filed patents and analyzed those having 100 or more unique inventions within a three-year period. Factors considered were not only the number of inventions, but also the success of grant applications, the global nature of patent portfolios, and the potential to influence future innovation.
These factors were cross-referenced with a financial analysis of how the companies performed year over year. Within the past three years, the Reuters top 100 outperformed on the Standard & Poors (S&P) 500 stock market index in several areas. In 2013 specifically, they outspent the S&P 500 by 8.8% on R&D and also outperformed the S&P by 4% in annual stock gains and 2% in year-over-year revenue.
The U.S. government blog The Hill notes that the future of American innovation and global competitiveness depends on "permanent patriotic commitment to scientific research and technological development." In relation, government policies and national investments help companies to take risks, explore new areas and invest in technologies that can take years to realize.