This is part of an ongoing series discussing how non-tech companies are moving into the tech and innovation ecosystem.

Most companies want to be in the innovation category. And I don’t mean only tech companies. Innovation positioning can bring higher valuations, better awareness and grease the skids of your hiring pipeline. Most companies I speak with, who are asking about innovation positioning say that attracting and hiring the best talent is one of their biggest challenges and barriers to growth.

We recently ran a Google survey of 18-24 year olds in California asking them who they saw is the most appealing as an innovative employer of tech professionals. Starbucks ranked third, General Motors came in fifth.  Who could have predicted that? Each brand has carefully crafted their strategy as innovators to break out of their industry and lead.

Panera Bread is another company positioning as an innovator and using technology to change up their business and customer experience. To be a leader in innovation doesn’t mean you have to sell technology. It can also mean that technology is at the center of how your company is working delight customers and empower employees.

Next topic we’ll look at is collaboration and co-opitition - two ways of working that are ever present when you're "in tech"

Image courtesy of Wall Street Journal.