How do companies remain innovative?  Two gentlemen working in collaboration with Forbes magazine have just completed their second annual study on innovation and so their conclusions are worth taking note of.

Jeff Dyer is the Horace Beesley Professor of Strategy at the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University. Hal Gregersen is a Senior Affiliate Professor of Leadership at INSEAD.  These two chaps have written a book on the Innovator's DNA and have intimately studied the most innovative companies in the world and compared them to those less innovative seeking to identify what that innovative gene is.  
"Leaders of innovative companies consciously set the example by modeling innovation behaviors—and imprinting those same behaviors as processes within their organizations."Hal Gregersen and Jeff Dyer
They have identified Behavioural Skills that differentiate innovators from non-innovators:
Ultimately it is about BEING innovative right at the top, as much as how you set up R&D departments or promote innovative ideas internally or externally.  Dyer and Gregersen identify among these skills the ability to ask provocative questions, to network with innovators at the cutting edge and the willingness to experiment - and to fail (read here our own Derek Laney's - @derektweets - thoughts on failure).
Topping the list for the second year in a row, the leadership understands something about these skills.  Founder and CEO Marc Benioff is singled out for both the way he networks with young start-up CEOs like Drew Houston of Dropbox or the way he was instrumental in the development of Chatter.  But here in Sydney at Cloudforce in June, we learnt a little more about Innovation from one of the other founders - Parker Harris - in the Innovation Panel conducted with ZDnet and hosted by New Innovator's host, James O Loghlin:
"You need to give people the opportunity to innovate...and frankly you need to empower that from the top down" Parker Harris, EVP and Co-Founder,
So it's clear that responsibiity for innovation starts at the top, but also right across the organisation.  To learn more about innovation, be sure to catch Marc Benioff's Keynote at Dreamforce next week for the latest in what the world's most innovative company have in development.