Boston Consulting Group is a global consulting firm that partners with leaders in business and society to help them master business challenges and make out business opportunities. It is one of the world’s three largest management consulting firms alongside Bain & Company and McKinsey & Company. Annually the firm releases a ranking of the most innovative companies. The most recent 2022 ranking can be found on the company webpage.
The 2022 ranking was based on a survey of more than 1,500 global innovation executives who were polled in December 2021 and January 2022. The performance of a company was evaluated using four metrics and then an average of normalised scores taken to calculate its overall ranking. These four dimensions include: Global Mindshare comprising the number of votes received from all global innovation executives; Industry Peer View consisting of the number of votes received from executives in a company’s own industry; Industry Disruption comprising the Diversity Index (Herfind-ahl-Hirschman) of votes across industries; Value Creation depicting total shareholder return, including share buybacks from December 31, 2018, through December 31, 2021.
This year’s ranking looked at what parameters helped companies to tackle C&S challenges through innovation. Many of the most successful companies on the list were found to place particular focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles and decarbonisation efforts. Almost 80% (39) rank among the top C&S innovators, according to global peer votes. In battling climate change companies the study found consider it to be of paramount importance to rely on existing as well as emerging technologies in order to create products and employ processes which are environmentally-friendly. However, the study also made one thing clear: The path to climate-friendly technology is still windy and arduous. Only 20% scored 81 or higher in BCG’s 100-point innovation-to-impact benchmarking framework (i2i by BCG). More than three-quarters of committed C&S innovators were found to need to raise their efforts, and 80% of all companies needed to go through a steep learning curve. Companies placing particular focus on C&S were also seen to emphasise various aspects of their innovations systems more stronly than other companies. They identified the domains they want to focus on, managed the idea funnel, and had clear performance goals. They also entered into a dynamic dialogue with partners and even competitors. Moreover, the survey found that 60% of high-emitting companies were targeting deep-tech innovation. In addition, C&S innovators were found to employ external innovation vehicles that are typically used for longer-term or more technologically advanced solutions.
Throughout the whole ranking, US companies seem to perform best in realising their goals, which is not least reflected by the great number of US companies in the list. The first 10 positions in the ranking are dominated by US companies (7 slots). Positions 1 to 3 are occupied by Apple, Microsoft and Amazon. Microsoft is very much involved in enabling a greener and more sustainable future for our planet by taking great pains to help companies track CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the energy value chain. This is accomplished by means of connected devices, integrated AI and machine learning, which are intended for improved energy demand balancing and supply in real time.
Tesla achieved 5th position. The company is at the forefront of innovative electric vehicle producers. Tesla plans to make large fleet deliveries at the end of the quarter, parts of which will be supplied to rental car companies to help them achieve the goal of including more electric cars into their fleet. E-mobility, however, is not the only area where Tesla’s innovative ideas set the course to a greener environment.
The construction industry has also long profited from the company‘s work. Tesla’s Solar Roof, for example, is designed to maximise energy production in the house without compromising the aesthetics of a building. Other companies in the list too are also very much concerned with smart energy solutions. Huawei, which has achieved 8th position, is investing in and developing smart solar solutions. Its innovative ideas make PV power plants run more efficiently and through better intelligence, e.g. through integrated intelligent control systems. IBM, placed 10th, also concentrates its efforts on finding new “green” energy solutions and helps the solar industry to develop innovative technologies for a more sustainable energy future. One of the few European companies featuring in the ranking is Siemens, placed 20th. The German technology company has had a stake in renewable, mostly wind, energy for almost 20 years. In 2017, the company expanded its renewables business through a merger between Siemens Wind Power and Gamesa, a Spanish wind turbine manufacturer.
The most striking aspect of the ranking is that it is dominated mainly by American companies as well as a few Japanese and Chinese ones. The only European companies are two technology companies, Siemens and Philips, and two consumer goods companies, Unilever and Nestle.