The 50 most innovative companies in the world, 2013

Summary:Boston Consulting Group has just issued its top innovator list, and for the first time, 'there are more auto companies than technology companies in the top 20.'

Boston Consulting Group has just released its annual list of the world's most innovative companies, and as was the case last year, the tech giants -- Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and IBM -- dominate the list. But there is a surprise as well.

Photo credit: Joe McKendrick

An interesting development has been the ascendancy of automobile manufacturers up the list. The fifth-ranked innovator, for instance, is Toyota Motor Company, which rose from 11th place last year. Ford Motor company, the eighth-ranked innovator, rose from 12th place. BMW rose from 14th to ninth place, and Volkswagen made a huge leap from 45th to 14th place. "For the first time since we began this survey [2005], there are more auto companies than consumer companies in the top 50 and more auto companies than technology companies in the top 20," BCG says in its report.

Perhaps it's because auto companies have become technology companies.

BCG says an increasing emphasis on more fuel-efficiency, intelligent safety systems, and in-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communications is driving much of the renewed innovation in the auto sector.

As mentioned in previous posts here at SmartPlanet, cars are no longer just cars -- they have become " computers on wheels ." Cars now have more computing power than PCs or smartphones, running on millions of lines of software code, and loaded with sensors.

To compile this list, BCG says it collected data from more than 1,500 senior executives, including details on innovation processes, views of innovation plans and  opinions of other companies’ innovation track records. Data is also weighted to incorporate relative three-year shareholder returns, revenue growth, and margin growth.


Last year's rank

(*=not on last year's list)

1) Apple 1
2) Samsung 3
3) Google 2
4) Microsoft 4
5) Toyota 11
6) IBM 6
7) Amazon 9
8 ) Ford 12
9) BMW 14
10) General Electric 16
11) Sony 7
12) Facebook 5
13) General Motors 29
14) Volkswagen 45
15) Coca-Cola 17
16) Hewlett-Packard 15
17) Hyundai 24
18) Honda *
19) Audi 25
20) Daimler *
21) Wal-Mart 20
22) Lenovo 27
23) Proctor & Gamble 49
24) Bayer *
25) LG Electronics *
26) Shell 35
27) SoftBank 31
28) BASF 23
29) Nokia *
30) Intel 19
31) Dell 18
32) Boeing 38
33) Fast Retailing 32
34) Unilever *
35) Tencent *
36) Kia 23
37) Nike 39
38) Nissan 22
39) Siemens 26
40) ExxonMobile *
41) Tesla *
42) Virgin 37
43) Fiat *
44) BP *
45) Dow Chemical *
46) Cisco *
47) Target *
48) Renault 34
49) Philips 33
50) Nestle *

Source: The Most Innovative Companies 2013: Lessons From Leaders, Boston Consulting Group, September 2013.

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. Joe is co-author, along with 16 leading industry leaders and thinkers, of the SOA Manifesto, which outlines the values and guiding principles of service orientation. He speaks frequently on cloud, SOA, data, and... Full Bio

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