Crain's Detroit releases list of Michigan's 100 most innovative companies

Aug 19, 2013

There's been a lot of talk in the years after the Great Recession about revitalizing Michigan - trying to get away from the 20th century economic model - trying to move the state, its residents, and its jobs - to the 21st century and beyond. And it's fair to say that many would agree that "innovation" is a vital part of moving the state's economy forward.

Crain's Detroit business has released a list of the 100 most innovative companies in Michigan. They're calling it the Michigan Innovative Index.

“People and companies innovate and apply for patents for their innovations all the time, but they don’t always necessarily have a market leading innovation,” said Chad Holcom, a reporter for Crain's Detroit. “So we kind of were curious to know what companies are sort of breaking new ground.”

Crain’s hired Ocean Tomo, a patent evaluation firm based in Chicago, to help them evaluate Michigan companies that have patents issued each year and find trends.

Not only is the total number of Michigan patents on the rise, but the quality of Michigan patents has also increased.

“The value of the company is the value of the patent,” said Holcom. “[Patents] are usually evaluated on a number of things. How much that patent is unique verses building on previous inventions, there will be references within the patent application to other kinds of intellectual property that it’s standing on or building on, and, more importantly, how much other subsequent applications now have to do the same.”

Crain’s expected that most of the most innovative business would be auto supply chain companies and companies in University research corridors, but there were also several start-ups that were issuing high-value patents as well. Topping the list was Gas Technologies LLC, located in Walloon Lake. The company has only issued 3 patents, but received a quality index of 156.57 relative to a median score of 100.

According to Holcom, this list is useful for evaluating the future of Michigan’s economy.

“The most telling thing a list or an evaluation project like this can do for us is tell us what companies are likely to be suiting buyers or courting buyers in the coming months or years, things that might become attractive investments for private equity or venture capital firms, companies that look like they might have the most growth potential.”

-Michelle Nelson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Listen to the full interview above.