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The Most Innovative Companies 2018 – Digital technologies have become more important than ever

Founded in 1963, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management-consulting firm. BCG helps corporations and other organizations to innovate and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. It annually releases a ranking of the most innovative companies around the world, which can be viewed here.
BCG’s annual ranking of the most innovative companies uses a survey of senior executives representing a wide variety of industries worldwide as well as selecting financial metrics to measure a company’s innovative progress. The methodology has been continually refined over the past few years, advancing from one parameter to four, and currently consists of Respondents’ votes, Total shareholder return (TSR), Revenue growth, and Margin growth. To create a better balance of subjective and objective measures, respondents’ votes for companies within their industry and outside each accounted for 30% and TSR for 40%.
At leading innovators, R&D and new products play an important role in advancing digital innovation. Eleven of the fifty companies named in BCG’s 2018 ranking of the most innovative companies (seven in the top 10) are digital companies and thus digital innovators by definition. Most of the others on the list have included digital technologies into their innovation agenda. The trend is pervasive across industries and has even reached the most conservative businesses.
It is not surprising then that an innovation digital divide has opened up between companies adapting to innovation more quickly and those finding it more difficult to integrate innovative thinking. While 79% of strong innovators have digitized innovation processes only 29% of weak innovators were able to do so. More than one-third of survey respondents said that digitized processes haven’t really furthered the company’s innovative output.
Among the top 10, the digital companies Apple, Google and Microsoft can be found occupying the first three positions. Furthermore, the electric car manufacturer Tesla has joined Apple and Google in the first decade of innovative firms. The company made its debut on the list in 41st place two years ago. It is currently ranked 6th, losing three places since 2016.
The multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE), which is headquartered in Boston, was also once again included in BCG’s annual rankings. The company is active in different business areas, including power, renewable energy, transportation, as well as oil and gas. GE's renewable energy unit, which includes wind turbines, is a comparatively small segment of its overall business, with just $77 million in profit. It was awarded 18th position in 2017.
Siemens has expanded its portfolio to include energy production from renewable sources, investing, for example, in wind power, solar power, hydropower and biomass. Siemens acquired
its European competitor Gamesa in 2017 to increase its shares in the renewable energy market. Siemens was able to improve its ranking by nine places and currently holds 21st position.
North America remains the most highly represented region of this year’s rankings, with 27 companies included. Europe was able to strengthen its position substantially with 16 entrants, up from 10 in 2016. Asian companies could only achieve seven out of 50 positions, with Samsung being in the lead, occupying 5th position.