Innovation Japan

Here is an interesting statistic I use in my entrepreneurial class, various speeches and eluded to at last Saturday’s MIT D-Lab event.  The statistics is from the BusinessWeek/Boston Consulting Group (BCG) World’s top 50 innovative companies for 2008.  Obviously, the main intent of this list is to rank the innovative companies for that year.  While the companies listed and the ranking itself may be debatable, I find this list useful in explaining the current state of Japan.  The slide I’ve created includes just the top 25 companies ranked in order.  On top of this, I’ve added the year each corporation was founded.

1. Apple 1976
2. Google 1998
3. Toyota 1933
4. GE 1892
5. Microsoft 1975
6. Tata Group 1868
7. Nintendo 1889
8. P&G 1837
9. Sony 1946
10. Nokia 1865
11. 1994
12. IBM 1920
13. RIM 1984
14. BMW 1916
15. HP 1939
16. Honda Motor 1946
17. Walt Disney 1923
18. General Motors 1908
19. Reliance 1966
20. Boeing 1916
21. Goldman Sachs 1869
22. 3M 1902
23. Wal-Mart 1945
24. Target 1902
25. Facebook 2004

Some interesting things that I find from this list to point out.  First, all four Japanese companies (hilighted in red) were all formed on or before 1946.  Second, about half the US companies on the list were formed AFTER 1975.  Finally, that most of the companies on this list were founded in times of recession or other financial crisis.
It might be interesting to compile the cap tables for these companies and see how the newer companies are valued (I’m guessing higher) relative to the older companies.  I guess the conclusions I’m coming here is how there hasn’t been any new Japanese companies in the top 25 for over 60 years.  In my class and various discussion sessions, we try to discuss why that is.  Perhaps a future blog entry. Your comments are always welcome.

Posted by whsaito

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William H. Saito