Is there a need for increased innovation amongst UK companies?

Innovation is a key driver for businesses all across the world and it seems as though more needs to be done in the UK.


This comes in the wake of Thomson Reuters highlighting the 100 most innovative companies in a recent report – with not a single British entrant on the list.


That isn’t to say that UK companies just aren’t innovating at all – the likes of Dyson and ARM would almost certainly disagree – but are they doing enough?


Many UK-based companies who fail to innovate could fall into difficulty. This may not necessarily mean the end for the company, as a flexible arrangement such as a Company Voluntary Arrangement could suit their needs and allow them to continue to trade.


However, applying a strong level of innovation at an earlier stage might help them on the path to growth.


Is Britain falling behind?


On a global scale, companies in the Far East and North America are innovating on grand scales and that explains why so many of their companies make the list.


The list assesses criteria including patent volume, quality, importance and impact, and the UK companies were just not meeting the mark.


Of all the European nations, France led the way with 12 companies named on the list. The French reportedly ploughed an extra $10 billion a year into research and development companies when compared to Britain.


It is for this reason that the report stated that many other countries in the world also missed out on the list – as a lack of R&D fails to drive the necessary innovation.


Several leading US technology firms including Apple, Microsoft and IBM all made the list, while South Korean giant Samsung was also included.


From Europe, Phillips, Ericsson and Siemens were all listed, which gives an idea of the type of level that UK companies need to be performing to.


A rise in the number of successful applications and increased investment into R&D could see a UK company make its way onto the list in the future.


The beginning of the current financial year saw the government introduce Patent Box legislation, which provides companies with tax relief on profits made via the sales of patented products.


However, it may take some time to see the effects of such legislation, although GlaxoSmithKline might be the first to make the list after announcing grand plans for investment.


The company said it plans to invest £500 million into new research facilities, which will create 1,000 new jobs and may see the company become the first to break into the top 100.


By Phil Smith


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