Forbes just published the 2015 edition of their annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” ranking. Compared to last year’s ranking, there is a change at the top of the list. Tesla Motors makes it to the pole position. Salesforce – #1 in 2014 – is on the second rank ahead of Alexion Pharmaceuticals on #3.
Dominance of Pharma Companies
As in last year’s ranking, there is a dominance of pharmaceutical companies in the Top Ten. Four of ten companies are from the pharma sector. Interestingly, all pharma companies from the ranking are rather mid-sized organisations. The “Pharma Giants” like Pfizer, Novartis, Roche or Bayer are not listed at all. To view the full ranking table, please refer to: http://www.forbes.com/innovative-companies/list/
Absence of Germany
As usual, the ranking is dominated by US companies. Nearly half of the organisations listed are based in the USA. While one quarter of the companies listed are based in Western Europe (5 from the UK, 4 from France and Switzerland each), it is remarkable that not a single German firm is among the Top 100. Many German industry leaders might wonder why they are omitted. Given the attractiveness of German products and services worldwide, this result is at least questionable – and triggers some questions. For example, Thomson Reuters most recent and influential “Top 100 Global Innovators” lists four German-based companies (BASF, Bosch, Fraunhofer and Siemens). Thomson Reuters’ Top 100 methodology is based purely on Intellectual property activity, the full ranking table can be viewed here.
According to Forbes, the method relies on investors’ ability to identify firms they expect to be innovative now and in the future. Companies are ranked by their “Innovation Premium”: the difference between their market capitalization and a net present value of cash flows from existing businesses (based on a proprietary formula from Credit Suisse HOLT). The difference between them is the bonus given by equity investors on the educated hunch that the company will continue to come up with profitable new growth. Please also see our Rated Ranking of the 2014 edition of “Forbes World’s Most Innovative Companies” for a detailed assessment.
Which is the Most Innovative Company? Depends on Who you Ask!
If you compare both lists – Forbes and Thomson Reuters “Top 100 Global Innovators” – you will get a remarkable result: Although both highly respected news outlets claim to take an entirely objective look at who are the most innovative companies in the world, THERE IS NOT A SINGLE COMPANY THAT SHOWS UP ON BOTH LISTS! We have 200 companies here, and all 200 are, indeed, very innovative in their own right, but not a single one is considered to be amongst the most innovative companies by both of these parties. So the answer to the question “Who’s the most innovative company worldwide?” is if you look at the results of these two influential rankings: “It depends on who you ask!”
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