Washington: Five Indian companies including Larsen & Toubro, Hindustan Unilever and Infosys are ranked on Forbes magazine's list of The World's Most Innovative Companies topped by four US companies.

Larsen & Toubro with an annual sales growth of 19 percent is ranked ninth in the world followed by Hindustan Unilever (12) with 11.4 percent. Infosys (19) comes third with 12.7 percent growth thanks to what the US business magazine called a lower innovation premium.

This measures the difference between the value of the company's existing businesses and its expected future innovations. Companies must also have USD 10 billion in market capitalisation and spend at least one percent of their asset base on research and development.

Tata Consultancy Services (29) with 19.5 percent was fourth among Indian companies with Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (38) with a 14.6 growth bringing up the rear.

Four US companies — Cloud computing king Salesforce.com, drug major Alexion Pharmaceuticals, internet retail giant Amazon.com and open source software leader Red Hat took the top four places.

Forbes said that its analyses show at least three key things that the innovative companies do to create and sustain an innovation premium. These were: How well companies leverage people, process, and philosophies, differentiates the best in class from the next in class when it comes to keeping innovation alive and delivering an innovation premium year after year.

Forbes also featured SD Shibulal, cofounder and CEO of Infosys (19 this year; 15 last), calling him ‘both observer and experimenter’. In his 30 years at Infosys Shibulal says ‘there is nothing that I have not done’.

To get a new perspective, Shibulal took a five year sabbatical to work for another firm, Sun Microsystems, Forbes said. He's also known as an experimenter and ‘gadget freak’ and revered as a ‘gizmo guru’.

Forbes said it had found that successful leaders personally understand how innovation happens and they try to imprint their behaviours as processes and philosophies within their organisation.


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