from the The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies Special Report (business week)
Not so long ago, no conversation about innovation would be complete without the story of 3M inventor Art Fry’s eureka moment that led to the Post-it Note. Today, that tale, which verges on cliche, has been almost universally replaced by the story of the iPod, Apple’s omnipresent icon of design.

It should come as little surprise, then, that Apple tops the BusinessWeek-Boston Consulting Group’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for the third year in a row. That sort of staying power speaks volumes about the sort of innovation that matters today.
Unlike the Post-it Note, which proves the value of lone inventors, the iPod epitomizes today’s innovation sensibilities. These include the ascendance of design, the focus on the user’s experience, and the power of ecosystems: The iPod is a hit because it works so seamlessly with
the iTunes software. The company’s much-anticipated iPhone, which launches in June, will likely keep Apple high on our list next year too.

There are some surprises this year, including four new companies in the top 25—Disney, Boeing, Genentech, and Cisco Systems. In other cases, the resilience of corporate reputation was surprising. Wal-Mart Stores suffers from slow growth, but still commands respect for its
supply-chain innovations. Dell wears the brand halo of an innovator for its efficient direct-to-consumer model, though it suffered through a management shakeup and fell from No. 14 to No. 22. And what of 3M? It fell too, from No. 3 in 2006 to No. 7 this year.

2007 2006 Rank Company Name Location, Country
1     1     APPLE Cupertino, CA USA
2     2     GOOGLE Mountain View, CA USA
3     4     TOYOTA MOTOR Toyota Japan Asia
4     6     GENERAL ELECTRIC Fairfield, CT USA
5     5     MICROSOFT Redmond, WA USA
6     7     PROCTER & GAMBLE Cincinnati, OH USA
7     3     3M St. Paul, MN USA
8     43    WALT DISNEY CO. Burbank, CA USA
9     10    IBM Armonk, NY USA
10     13   SONY Tokyo Japan