Apple iPhone 5

The Council of Canadian Academies’ panel on the state of industrial R&D in this country concluded that building a strong foundation of IR&D “is an essential part of developing that capacity for the future, thereby ensuing that Canadians firms can successfully compete in a global economy increasingly centered on knowledge and technology.”

IR&D “is a cornerstone of long-term sustainable growth.”

But R&D doesn’t necessarily translate into innovation, the report adds.

In a sidebar it notes a 2010 international survey found executives called Apple Inc. the most innovative firm in the world. Yet Apple ranked only 81st in total R&D spending among corporations.

Google and Microsoft spent more than three times as much of their revenues on R&D.

In fact, of the top 10 ranked most innovative firms, only three were in the list of top 10 R&D spenders.

“Apple’s successful record of innovation was clearly not a function of R&D spending alone,” says the report. “It was also related to investments in innovation in its supply chain, marketing, and design.”