BCG released their 2013 Most Innovative Companies survey results and their list of the top 50 firms (registration required to access). Focus is on large multinational brands. Several of the main observations.
Five Key Attributes of Innovation Leaders
The survey identifies five key attributes that the leading innovative companies adopt noting that strong firms adopt all five. The five key attributes are:
- Top management commitment to innovation as a competitive advantage.
- Firms leverage their IP in both defensive and offensively to strengthen their competitive advantage.
- Firms effectively manage a portfolio of innovative initiatives.
- Firms have strong customer focus.
- Firms insist on strong innovation processes that leads to strong performance.
The report observed the advancement of many of the leading automotive firms in the rankings as the firms strive for higher fuel efficiency, higher safety standards, and mobile device integration. Notably aircraft and aircraft engine innovators who are also striving for higher fuel efficiency in air transportation were not mentioned. Although Boeing and GE makes the list at #13 and #32 respectively Airbus and Pratt & Whitney do not make the list.
There are no leading Canadian brands on the list although several top 50 firms access Canadian knowledge talent with branch plant operations for example – Google (#3), IBM (#6), GE (#10), P&G (#23), and Shell (#26). Canada’s weak product development mindset and poor independent innovation performance remain underlying problems. Shell and ExxonMobil were the only energy leaders making the list.
Key Innovation Performance Trends
Several key innovation performance trends were observed:
- 85% of strong innovators expect to spend more on innovation and new product development than last year.
- Leaders are focusing and making smarter investments.
- Fewer firms reported changing directions once started.
- Firms are improving their innovation process performance.
- Judgment of senior management for determining which ideas to move to product development was adopted by two thirds of firms.
- Strong innovators listen to customers.
- The importance of firms leveraging their IP for competitive advantage was growing.