Forbes has put together (via setteB.IT) a list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies and Apple ranked fifth. Salesforce.com leads the pack, followed by Amazon (#2), Intuitive Surgical (#3) and Tencent Holdings (#4). Interestingly, Google is seventh most-innovative company in the world on the publication’s list. Other worthy mentions: Nintendo (#20), Activision Blizzard (#22), Starbucks (#19), PepsiCo (#50). The usual suspects don’t fare well, however. Adobe is ranked 54th (little wonder, with their confused CEO) and Apple’s court friend HTC is 56th. Steve Jobs best friend’s company Oracle is 77th and Microsoft is far down on the list, ranked 86th. The full list is available here. But wait, how do you measure innovation? Read on…

Forbes calls it the five skills of disruptive innovators and here they are:

Questioning allows innovators to challenge the status quo and consider new possibilities;

Observing helps innovators detect small details—in the activities of customers, suppliers and other companies—that suggest new ways of doing things

Networking permits innovators to gain radically different perspectives from individuals with diverse backgrounds;

Experimenting prompts innovators to relentlessly try out new experiences, take things apart and test new ideas;

Associational thinking—drawing connections among questions, problems or ideas from unrelated fields—is triggered by questioning, observing, networking and experimenting and is the catalyst for creative ideas.

That, and the usual stuff to consider such as sales, profitability, growth, market share, hype and other tangibles and intangibles.

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