BCG: Top 50 most innovative companies of the globe

03 November 2014

Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft and IBM are the five most innovative companies of the globe, concludes a new research by The Boston Consulting Group. The list of top 50 innovation leaders is, similar to previous years, dominated by large technology and automotive players.

Since 2005 consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has researched the innovation performance of global companies across more than 10 industries. To assess innovation performance, the consultants asked more than 1,500 senior executives to rank the most innovative firms, and then weighted the results to incorporate relative three-year shareholder returns, revenue growth and margin growth.

An overview of the top 50 most innovative companies:

Most Innovative Companies 2014

The top five firms of the list is consistent with last year’s edition, with Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft all retaining their position, while IBM edges up one place to take Toyota spot at number 5. Similarly, 7 of the top 10 and 14 of the top 20 companies are the same. Technology and telecommunications companies dominate the ranking, distributing 21 of the top 50 amongst them, the most since 2010. Automotive, which captures 14 of the top 50 spots, represents the second-largest industry, followed by consumer industries, with 10 of the top 50 spots. Only three new companies joined the list—Xiaomi Technology, Hitachi, and Largest growers in the ranking are Tesla (7), Cisco Systems (14), Siemens (15) and Fiat (32). 

Sectoral Shifts
The report by BCG in addition looks at the innovation performance per industry. The analysis reveals that there are sharp shifts in the innovation stance of specific industries. The biggest shift is in the automotive industry: automakers reported a 26% decline in innovation priority (from 84% to 62%) and the second-largest drop in the intention to spend more (from 71% to 6%), according to the authors the result of cost cutting reemerging as an important priority—even at the premium end of the market—as many automakers seem to be concerned that innovation alone will not preserve their margins. Interestingly, the consultants also highlight the role of Tesla: “Perhaps Tesla’s more disruptive, breakthrough entrance has raised the innovation bar for automakers—and thus changed respondents’ perceptions of what constitutes innovation in the automotive space.”

Most Innovative Sectors

Firms in the agribusiness sector are trying to do more with less. Increases in innovation as a priority (from 72% to 76%) and plans to decrease spending (only 40% are planning an increase, as opposed to 56% in 2013) suggest that more companies in this sector are tightening their focus and putting their money where they see potential. By contrast, chemicals showed a modest uptick in priority (from 84% to 86%) backed by a big increase in spending intentions (74% plan to increase spending compared with 57%).