BusinessWeek went to the twenty-five companies that topped its list of the most innovative (generally large) companies in the world, and asked them to nominate a leading innovator to be part of BusinessWeek's top 25 masters of innovation. None of these candidates carry the title of Chief Innovation Office. John Donovan of AT&T, for example, is the Chief Technology Officer, and a variety of other titles are represented.
What I found especially interesting was the lack of a nominee from Wal-Mart and Reliance Industries of India. In both cases, I can imagine that there were so many high-level people who could have been chosen that the company felt uncomfortable nominating just one. I hope that's the case. Wal-Mart is a surprisingly rich source of innovation in many areas, from their green initiatives to supply chain technology, from vendor relationships to their emerging private label strategy. And now they are taking on Amazon with Wal-mart Marketplace. Stay tuned! Reliance likewise is a highly innovative company with many key figures driving innovation. They have a Reliance Innovation Leadership Centre, a Corporate Research and Technology Centre, a Reliance Innovation Council, and many healthy partnerships that make the largest private sector company of India (and second largestprivate conglomerate in the world) highly productive and innovative. I can understand how difficult it would be to select just one innovation leader for BusinessWeek's award.
In any case, congratulations to each of the the top 25 companies and to all their masters of innovation!