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Today’s Most Innovative Companies by Popular Demand

Harris Interactive polled close to 30,000 folks to find out what companies have the best reputations in corporate America. A yet-to-be-released part of that study tested the public on which companies had the most innovative products and services. Harris provided Fast Company with the list. Here are three of the top five, stacked against our own list of innovators.

Apple: Looks like public perception matches up with Apple’s reputation as an innovator. Cupertino ranked #1 on Harris’ study, and with all the hoopla surrounding the iPad, it’s no wonder that Steve Jobs and Co. ranked at the top. We pegged them at #2, but of course, that’s before we got our hands on the new Netflix app.

Toyota: Since Toyota’s collapse in recent months over faulty mechanics, finding the tainted company at #4 might seem like an odd place for an “innovator” in products and services. But it turns out the Japanese car-giant simply lucked out: Harris polled half the public before the sales suspension and product recall, and half after. Perhaps the automaker would’ve been higher (or lower) without this averaging of pre- and post-company perceptions. Toyota became an industry all-star on our list for their phenomenal work with the Prius and success in marketing hybrid vehicles. Thankfully, we didn’t highlight Toyota’s brake technology.

Intel: Heck, how can’t you have a leg-up on the competition when your theme song is the most addictive brand sound in the world? Intel ranked #5 in Harris’s list, and 14th on our own, thanks to the companies many breakthroughs in processor core development.

Filling in the blanks of the top five are 3M (#2) and Sony (#3). Why do you think the public views these companies so highly? Do you consider them innovators? Why isn’t Google on the list?

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