Saturday, May 30, 2009

Unsung according to whom?

In which I continue my thoughts on the latest BusinessWeek Top Innovators list. More evidence emerges of flaws in BusinessWeek's methodology. They've got a list of unsung innovators which they assembled by asking senior executives to name one innovator others wouldn't think of. I wonder who these *others* are. One among the list is IDEO -- yes the company that lives and dies by innovation; whose lifeblood is innovation; which will cease to exist the day it stops innovating; that teaches other companies to innovate. And this company didn't make it to the main list?! Sure, IDEO is a consultancy that innovates for other corporations rather than manufactures and sells its own innovations. IDEO isn't unsung even by BusinessWeek's own standards: the magazine's editors are held in thrall by IDEO's magicians as can be observed in practically every issue.


So it looks like the BusinessWeek survey is highly sensitive to opinions of the sample of persons included in the poll. There is probably no one single, easy, way to conduct this survey, and hence, there might be starkly different lists generated by different surveyors located in different nations and cultures.

Once again, this reinforces my feeling that the BusinessWeek survey is primarily for entertainment and reflection and should not be confused for an accurate portrayal of reality. Nevertheless, props to them for bothering to do such a survey at all. What would be sad is if the companies that appear on the list then go about waving it in people's faces like as if it were a badge of honor.

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