FORTUNE -- Although it spent less than Amazon (amzn) on R&D last year, half as much as Google (goog) and IBM (ibm) and one third as much as Samsung and Microsoft (msft), executives polled by Booz & Co. named Apple (aapl) the world's most innovative company for the third year in a row.
As the Booz report puts it,
"...it is not how much companies spend on research and development that determines success — what really matters is how those R&D funds are invested in talent, process, and tools."
In the management consulting firm's eighth annual survey, Apple, Google and 3M (mmm) retained their No. 1, 2 and 3 spots, respectively, Samsung rose for the second year in a row, and Amazon joined the top 10 list for the first time.
You can learn more about Booz' methodology by downloading its media kit here.
Below: Who's up and who's down.