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.
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 , 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.