Rated Ranking: The Most Innovative Companies 2014

The Most Innovative Companies 2014 (Boston Consulting Group)


The ranking is compiled by Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) and published by several (key) media, e.g. Forbes. BCG has surveyed across a wide range of countries and industries since 2005 to help cast light on the state of innovation in global business. The new report reveals the 50 companies that this year’s sample of over 1,500 international executives perceived in a survey as the most innovative. Respondents’ votes counted for 80 per cent of the ranking, while three-year total shareholder return (TSR) for 10 per cent, and revenue and margin growth for 5 per cent each. Due to this mixture of collecting perceptions AND “hard facts” and the expertise of the seniority of survey respondents, this methodology is a convincing way to measure the “innovativeness” of companies – unlike other ranking approaches that either only rely on surveys OR on “hard facts” only.

Key results: Apple continues to lead the list as the most innovative company for the tenth year in a row, with Google advancing one spot over Samsung. Tesla, Fiat, Cisco Systems and Siemens all made double-digit leaps in position compared to last year. The tech and telecom industries continued to take the lead on innovation, earning four of the top five and five of the top ten places on BCG’s list. Many of these companies have demonstrated impressive staying power over the years. For example, Microsoft and IBM have been in the top ten nearly every year since 2005, and Samsung has been rising rapidly since 2008 and ranked number two in 2013, up from number 26 in 2008.

Also remarkable: Despite the fact that seven healthcare companies – Roche, Novartis, J&J, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi and GSK – are among the top 20 R&D spenders in 2014, like in previous years none of these companies were selected into the top 50 most innovative list! One conceivable explanation is that healthcare companies’ innovations tend not to be so closely identified with their brands. Another possible reason is that pharma companies tend to focus their energy solely on generating a rich product pipeline – which is their mission, but expected from society – but neglect the fact that innovation is also perceived by the way products are brought to the “market”, i.e. the patient. At least the traditional way pharma companies work, i.e. sales reps visiting physicians, trying to persuade them of the superiority of their product over that of the competitors , was already executed before the man was on the moon…
The report also singles out five factors that lead to strength in innovation: “Senior-management commitment”, “The ability to leverage intellectual property “, “Customer focus”, “Innovation portfolio management”, and “Well-defined and governed processes”.

Summarizing, “Most Innovative Companies” is a highly valuable ranking to gauge and compare the innovation status of individual companies. As the ranking has a long history comparisons and developments over time are possible.
You can read the Forbes article incl. the full top 50 ranking table here. Further information (incl. the full report) are available on the BCG website.

Relevance / Impact
– 13 points –
Added Value / Insights
– 15 points –

Trustworthiness / Intention
– 13 points –
– 13 points –

Aggregated points
– 54 (out of 60) –
Highly valuable ranking

Useful ranking with some flaws

Partially useful ranking with considerable flaws

< 30
Useless ranking

Reach of publication:

  • Global, e.g. North America, Europe and Asia (5 points)
  • Regional, e.g. Europe or North America (3 points)
  • Large national market: e.g. US, China, Japan, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Brazil (2 points)
  • Mid-sized or small market, e.g. Switzerland, Netherlands, Argentina, Singapore (1 point)

Ranking will be recognized by key stakeholders:

  • Opinion Leaders (Politicians, Professors; NGO’s) (2 points)
  • Business Advisory Board, C-Level Executives (CEO, CCO, CFO, CMO) (2 points)
  • High Potentials & Top Talents (employer market, students) (2 points)
  • Financial Market (2 points)
  • General Public (2 points)

Aggregated points: 13 (of max. 15)

Is the owner providing the ranking a credible and trustworthy organization?

  • Ranking owner has limited credibility and reputation. (1 point)
  • Ranking owner has fair credibility and reputation. (3 points)
  • Ranking owner has excellent credibility and reputation. (5 points)

What is the ranking owner’s intention to produce and disseminate the ranking?

  • Ranking is predominantly a tool to raise awareness for the owner with the possible intention to sell consultancy services. (1 point)
  • Ranking is partly a tool to raise awareness for the owner with the possible intention to sell consultancy services. (3 points)
  • Ranking is predominantly a tool to surface and share important insights on the subject surveyed. (5 points)

Is/Are the media outlet(s) where the ranking is published of high credibility and reputation?

  • Media outlet(s) has/have limited credibility and reputation. (1 point)
  • Media outlet(s) has/have fair credibility and reputation. (3 points)
  • Media outlet(s) has/have excellent credibility and reputation. (5 points)

Aggregated points: 13 (of max. 15)

Do the ranking results provide overall orientation where companies stand?

  • limited orientation only (1 point)
  • fair orientation provided (3 points)
  • very good orientation (5 points)

Is the Ranking published in the same format on a regular basis, e.g. annually, which allows to track developments and comparisons over time?

  • ranking is published for the first time (1 point)
  • ranking is published for the second time in the same format (3 points)
  • ranking is published for more than 3 times on a regular basis in the same format (5 points)

Comment: Ranking published for the 10th time in a row.

Do the ranking results provide added value and further insights on how companies are evaluated in in their industry, e.g. detailed ratings in various sub-dimensions of the overall result?

  • limited added value only (1 point)
  • fair amount of added value (3 points)
  • high amount of added value (5 points)

Aggregated points: 15 (of max. 15)

Is the ranking based on a representative survey among key stakeholders or on a jury only?

  • Ranking is based on a jury’s opinion only. (1 point)
  • Ranking is based on a small survey or only on a limited group of stakeholders. (3 points)
  • Ranking is based on a robust and representative survey. (5 points)

Coment: Only CEOs and senior executives are asked, but they are generally well-informed about the innovation status of companies

Is the ranking methodology easy to understand and reasonable – even for non-statisticians?

  • Methodology not easy to understand and not reasonable. (1 point)
  • Methodology fairly good to understand and reasonable. (3 points)
  • Methodology very easy to understand and reasonable. (5 points)

Is the ranking methodology easy to access and transparent?

  • Methodology not easy to find and not sufficiently transparent. (1 point)
  • Methodology fairly good to find and of medium transparency. (3 points)
  • Methodology very easy to find and of high transparency. (5 points)

Aggregated points: 13 (of max. 15)

Ranking category

  • Product / Service Brands
  • Company Brands
  • Corporate Reputation and Company Esteem
  • Social Responsibility, CSR & Sustainability, Ethical Business Practices
  • Innovation & Technology
  • Employer Attractiveness & Diversity
  • Leadership
  • Nations & Destinations
  • University & Other Institutions
  • Sports
  • Lifestyle
  • Social Media
  • Personal Branding & CEOs

Ranking statistics

  • Name of Ranking: Most Innovative Companies 2014
  • Ranking managed/produced by institute/organization: Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
  • Ranking published by media outlet: several, e.g. Forbes
  • Date of recent publication: October 28, 2014
  • Date of previous publication: October 22, 2013

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