Two Minnesota firms among top 50 'most innovative' in the world

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Two Minnesota firms are featured on an annual a list of the World's 50 Most Innovative Companies.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has published its 2015 rankings of the companies who have proven to be fast adopters of technologies, and financing research and development.

St. Paul-based 3M is list at 40th, while Medtronic in Minneapolis (though its executive office is technically in Ireland, it's a Minnesota-founded company) came in at 42nd in a list topped by Apple and Google in 1st and 2nd, respectively.

3M gets several shout-outs during the BCG report, noting that the company – which counts Scotch, Post-It and Nexcare among its brands – is a "recurring member" on the list and is one of the firms that traditionally blazes a trail for later tech upstarts.

It highlights 3M's policy of allowing employees to spend up to 15 percent of their working time on their own projects, using company funds if necessary – a policy replicated by Steve Jobs at Apple and at Google.

Medtronic, meanwhile, is one of the world's leaders in electronic medical device and hospital supply companies, starting as a pioneer in technology to treat irregular heart rates in the 1950s and later becoming a worldwide player.

Its appearance in the rankings comes as the company on Thursday reported its most recent quarterly results, which show it made a $520 million profit on revenue of $7.06 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Inc. reports that the rankings are compiled based on an international survey of 1,500 senior business executives. As well as its focus on innovation and research, firms also scored highly for the amount of dividends they return to investors.

Tech companies and car makers featured heavily, with Tesla, Microsoft and Samsung ranking 3rd-5th, while Toyota, BMW and Amazon are also in the top 10.

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