R&D budgets are shrinking amid worldwide retrenchment, but Samsung, American Express and Nokia are sustaining their commitment to innovation. They recognize that incremental improvement isn't enough. "Since true innovation entails uncertainty, as opposed to quantifiable risk, there will always be an element of vision, entrepreneurship and faith involved," says Paul J.H. Schoemaker of Wharton's Mack Center for Technological Innovation. "The C-suite recognizes that business is about taking risks and that not everything can be analytically proved or supported when venturing into the unknown."

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