A few lessons from the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2014

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published their yearly study on the Most Innovative Companies of 2014, which is accessible here.  BCG has been publishing this study since 2005, basing it on interviews with 1,500 senior executives globally. So Apple is still at the top position but the list now also includes companies like Hitachi, Salesforce And Xiaomi Technology for the first time.

This is the complete list of the 50 most innovative companies of 2014:


Here are some of the key findings from the study:

  • Companies who are strong at innovation are three times more likely to rely on big data analytics and data mining than their counterparts who are less adept at innovating (57% versus 19%).
  • 67% of breakthrough innovators say their big data analytics and data mining efforts are paying off.
  • 75% of the global executives BCG interviewed for the study said that innovation is among the top three priorities of their companies today, with 61% predicting spending in 2014 will be above 2013 levels.
  • Software is the only industry in which the majority of senior executives responsible for innovation (53%) see big data as having an impact on their ability to innovate in the next three to five years.  BCG found that only 41% of their companies however are targeting Big Data as part of their innovation programs.

The idea that big companies can replicate the approach of a garage startup is a continuing corporate myth. At big companies, innovation requires commitment, discipline, strong processes, and a willingness to take risks and fail—those latter attributes, especially, are not ones that most corporate cultures embrace. Executives from companies with strong innovation capabilities —and disruptive ambitions—represent just 7.6 percent of the sample.


Breakthrough innovators are especially effective at bringing together the pieces required for radical innovation and organizing them for high impact. This is no small achievement. There are at least a dozen factors related to management, governance, and organization design that can have a major impact on any company’s innovation program. Most companies struggle to master a few of these. Breakthrough innovators corral them al


Breakthrough innovators worry about hiring and retaining the right talent and prioritizing ideas for development, while weaker innovators are concerned with funding ideas and moving them through the process. Breakthrough innovators bring a higher degree of focus to their efforts.



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One comment on “A few lessons from the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2014

  1. This is very interesting and perhaps can give us some insight into what may make one company more effective at bringing innovations to market than others. Unfortunately, as in most management studies, the resulting list of companies makes it all highly suspect. Perhaps it can be said that IBM is “more innovative” than Siemens, based on interviews and some metrics. Or Microsoft (including Nokia according to the footnote, which it basically dissolved in the past couple of months) more innovative than IBM. Who cares? In the end this is merely a list of the largest corporations on the planet (or perhaps the list of clients who can afford BCG’s fees). Fortunately, we do not need to depend on them for disruptive innovation as numerous (smaller) companies that have brought disruptive innovation in the last couple of years are not on the list.

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