updated 12:52 am EDT, Fri September 27, 2013
Cupertino giant has been ranked number one since 2005
Boston Consulting Group has released its annual list of the "most innovative" companies in the world, and for the ninth time running the top-ranked company is Apple -- the same firm that has topped the list every year since BCN created it. Recent creations such as the super-slim iMac, the iPhone 5 (and more recent 5c), iOS 7, Thunderbolt 2 (which Apple played a role in developing with Intel), iBooks Author and other technologies kept the iPad maker on top.
Apple was closely followed by its arch-rival Samsung, which grabbed the second-place prize away from Google -- despite suffering more than one conviction that the Korean electronics giant copied patented technology from rivals. In addition to numerous battles against Apple and Nokia among others, Samsung is currently charged with stealing technology and design patents from Dyson vacuum, and announced a "gold" edition of the Galaxy S4 two days after Apple debuted its gold iPhone 5s. Microsoft took the fourth position, with carmaker Toyota rounding out the top five.
Investors.com noted that automakers in fact took 14 of the top 50 spots, with Ford at eighth most innovative and BMW in ninth place. Hi-tech carmarker Tesla entered the list for the first time this year at number 41. General Motors moved up 16 places, Volkswagen moved up 31 spots, and Honda and Daimler returned to the top 20. BCG says the moves mark a resurgence in traditional manufacturing innovation, with carmakers at the lead. The remaining spots in the top 20 were mostly occupied by tech and telecom firms.
BCG conducts the global survey of more than 1,500 senior executives in a variety of industries, and also tracks three-year total shareholder returns, three-year revenue growth and three-year margin growth as part of the ranking. "The report," the company says, "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."
BCG partner and co-author of the study Andrew Taylor said that "companies that continually create value over the long term -- meaning decades or more -- learn how to ingrain the ability into their corporate makeup; it becomes part of their culture and DNA." He noted that more than half of the most innovative companies on the 2013 list are more than 50 years old. Some have a heritage stretching back to the 19th century.
For the new list, BCG added a side-list of "up and coming" companies -- firms that are still young or operate on a smaller scale than the bigger corporations, but are still capable of disruptive innovation in their own fields. Among the firms found on this list were Groupon, Pinterest, Spotify, Rakuten, Netflix, Alibaba, Xiaomi Tech and WhatsApp.