Yesterday, someone drew my attention to Fast Company Magazine's Most Innovative Companies of 2012. It groans with exactly the sort of US companies one might expect it to: Apple, Google, Facebook, Square, Twitter, Amazon... groan, indeed.
I wondered whether the US was now THE most innovative country in the world -
given my earlier blog on the US and my observation that US companies dominated the Fast Company list.
But how to judge, measure, assess?
Random synaptic behavior being my biggest weakness, I jumped immediately to something that has been bugging me for a while - something I'm now going to officially name as 'Idea Rush'.
Idea Rush concisely encapsulates that constant flow of innovation characterized by "a winning idea" - that which every eight-to-eighty year-old, both in and outside of business, is so sure they have.
I get pitched something big and innovative at least once a week, and something small and incidental three or four times a week.
The problem is that these ideas are fuelled by a growing belief that we are all "that 17 year old wot made twenty million quid the other day". Like Nick D'Aloisio.
But it isn't enough to just have a winning idea, (we can all think up those all the time - and we are), because an idea without the serious heavy-lifting of detailed "go-to-market" strategy and "in-market implementation" is weightless.
It is also pointless, and the non-stop creation of such ideas has a serious side effect. Envisioning things you cannot execute creates a hallucinatory effect of limitless ability. When the idea backlog builds up, that hallucinatory effect generates extreme frustration, disappointment and a feeling of worthlessness.
I have witnessed this time and again over the past fifteen years. I have, to my shame, been involved in some. I have, in one notable case, presented such a thing to a politely interested Yoko Ono.
Whoops! Another synaptic surge and I'm back with the Fast Company Magazine piece.
The glut of US companies in Fast Company's report just made me a touch wary. Which countries are actually the most innovative? And are they happier places to be in because they have ready go-to-market access (ie. do they successfully manage Idea Rush)?
I naturally turned to the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organisation (for there is one) and learned that Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore were the world's most innovative countries according to their data. Turning swiftly to the Economist Intelligence Unit 'Best Countries To Live In', I discover that, yes, Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore are indeed nicely nestled in the Top 6 'Best Countries To Live In'.
No, you're right - this is not at all scientific and nor, in all probability, are the endless charts of similar hue to those I have quoted.
But there is a point to be made. And it's a big one.
Global commercial success requires a country to offer a genuine seedbed for positive innovative growth. There may be a hundred Nick D'Aloisios hallucinating right now that they can make it. UK Ltd should reach out and help. Properly, formerly and, of course, innovatively.