Most companies are realizing that keeping employees motivated and driven plays a significant role in ensuring retention and growth. At the same time most employees realize that money isn't the only motivator. Folks wanting to work on the cutting edge often feel drained doing similar 'boring' things over a longer period of time. There is thus a need to find some special time to do special work aka innovative work. They want time to let their creative juices flow and to work passionately on something that gives personal and professional satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
Quite a few companies are providing such avenues. It's not better known names like Google, Yahoo, 3M but smaller companies are also formally or informally going the extra mile to allow some time to innovate via tech events, hackathons, time off from projects etc. There is still another school of thought that believes in innovating during your daily work schedule - innovation being seen as something you do everyday and not necessarily something you do when given special time to innovate. Both are right and possibly a mix of both work best since there are different things that work for different people.
Ultimately, what a company delivers or what it builds needs to be awesome. And usually the people behind the awesomeness should be pretty damn good. It's then a matter of having a vision and giving the right nudge so the awesomeness and innovation can flow.