Apple is the world's most innovative company, according to BusinessWeek.

A stunning 24.84 per cent of 940 senior business executives from across the planet who voted chose to recognise Apple as the world's most innovative company.

Apple soundly beat its closest competitor - 3M - into second place. That firm received 11.77 per cent of the vote.

And Apple's traditional desktop foe, Microsoft, was trounced into third place with a fragment of Apple's vote. It took just 8.53 per cent, a third of Apple's mind share among senior business leaders.

Apple leads new creative economy

"Apple CEO Steve Jobs has turned Apple into the paragon of the creative corporation, and with the evolution of the economy toward creativity underway, companies throughout the world are de-constructing Apple's success in design and innovation," BusinessWeek said.

The magazine observes that a new economic driver is emerging, which it calls the "Creative Economy".

While many traditional "Knowledge Economy" jobs are outsourced oversease, the report states: "US companies are evolving to the next level of economic activity.

"Increasingly, the new core competence for executives is creativity-the right-brain stuff that smart companies are now harnessing to generate top-line revenue growth. The game has changed. It isn't just about maths and science anymore. It's about creativity, imagination, and, above all, innovation."

Innovation revolution begins

In a partisan moment, BusinessWeek declare the US to have the advantage within this emerging Creative Economy. "The new forms of innovation driving it forward are based on an intimate understanding of consumer culture-the ability to determine what people want even before they can articulate it," it reports.

"The innovation revolution has barely begun, and building creative, innovative companies is the great task ahead," it concludes.

The poll was conducted by the Boston Consulting Group.

According to the poll, the top 20 innovative companies in the world are:

Apple: 24.84 per cent;
3M: 11.77 per cent;
Microsoft: 8.53 per cent;
GE: 8.53 per cent;
Sony: 5.94 per cent;
Dell: 5.62 per cent;
IBM: 5.29 per cent;
Google: 5.18 per cent;
Procter and Gamble: 4.21 per cent;
Nokia: 4.21 per cent;
Virgin: 4 per cent;
Samsung: 3.89 per cent;
Wal-Mart: 3.24 per cent;
Toyota: 3.02 per cent;
eBay: 2.92 per cent;
Intel: 2.7 per cent;
Amazon: 2.7 per cent'
Ideo: 2.16 per cent;
Starbucks: 2.05 per cent;
BMW: 1.73 per cent.