Which are the Most Innovative Companies in the World?

Which are the Most Innovative Companies in the World? - Innovation ExcellenceWhich are the most innovative companies in the world? There is no way of absolutely measuring levels of innovation but three eminent groups compile different lists using different methods and of course they get different results. Forbes publishes a list based on a measure of how much investors have bid up the stock price of a company above the value of its existing business based on expectations of future innovative results. Their top 15 companies in 2015 are:

  1. Tesla Motors USA
  2. Salesforce.com USA
  3. Alexion Pharma USA
  4. Regeron Pharma USA
  5. ARM Holdings UK
  6. Unilever Indonesia Indonesia
  7. Incyte USA
  8. Amazon USA
  9. Under Armour USA
  10. BioMarin Pharma USA
  11. Baidu China
  12. Aspen Pharmacare South Africa
  13. Monster Beverage USA
  14. Catamaran USA
  15. Vertex Pharma USA

The full list of 100 international companies is worth perusing. Notable entries are 27. Netflix, USA, 45. Starbucks, USA 53. Reckitt Benckiser UK. Proctor and Gamble, Apple, Nike and Google do not get into the top 100!

The Forbes methodology uses the wisdom of the crowd. ‘Our method relies on investors’ ability to identify firms they expect to be innovative now and in the future. You can learn more about our research on innovation by visiting learn.theinnovatorsmethod.com. 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).

Boston Consulting Group publish a list based on a survey of 1500 senior executives. So it tends to consist of large companies with strong brand awareness. Their top 15 are:

  1. Apple
  2. Google
  3. Tesla Motors
  4. Microsoft
  5. Samsung
  6. Toyota
  7. BMW
  8. Gilead
  9. Amazon
  10. Daimler
  11. Bayer
  12. Tencent
  13. IBM
  14. Softbank
  15. Fast Retailing

The magazine Fast Company publishes a list of the 100 most innovative companies based on their perception of ‘businesses whose innovations are having the greatest impacts across their industries and our culture as a whole’. So they include many smaller high-tech US companies. Their top 10 are:

  1. Warby Parker
  2. Apple
  3. Alibaba
  4. Google
  5. Instagram
  6. Color of Change
  7. HBO
  8. Virgin America
  9. Indigo
  10. Slack

There is a wide divergence between the lists reflecting their different approaches. The Fast Company list is the most volatile with many changes year to year while the BCG list reflects the public love affair with Apple and the public recognition of big names. The Forbes list is the most international with many dynamic entries from Europe and Asia.

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Paul SloanePaul Sloane writes, speaks and leads workshops on creativity, innovation and leadership. He is the author of The Innovative Leader and editor of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, published both published by Kogan-Page. Follow him @PaulSloane

Paul Sloane




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