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2016 Top Innovators – Whose List is Right?

Posted on January 25th, 2017 by in New Materials & Applications

top innovation companies

Image by bella67 [CC0 Public Domain], via Pixabay

With innovation being an important – and topical – driver of a company’s cachet, the new year always provides ample opportunity to reflect on the previous year’s top performers. Who do you believe though when the experts don’t agree?

One person’s innovation is another person’s “meh”. The interpretation of “innovation” tends to be fairly subjective – and therein lies the rub. An engineer may consider a company to be innovative for implementing additive manufacturing even though that same company’s product line shows no visible signs of change to the consumer. A good example which I’ve previously discussed is how Renault Trucks shaved 25% off the weight of their Euro 6 diesel engine. No truck driver will likely ever see these new parts. Though opinions differ, you might expect at least consistency from a particular publication. Think again.

Innovation is a consistently covered topic for the editorial team over at Forbes. They’ve recently published two separate and thought provoking pieces on the top innovating companies of 2016. Once a year, Forbes shares their own research through The World’s Most Innovative Companies List. Using their own financial methodology called the “innovation premium”, editors claim it eliminates the “popularity contest” and “editorial whims” of traditional approaches. You can read more about their ranking approach here. The full list is published here, but the innovation premiums for the top five of 2016 are:

  1. Tesla Motors – 82.4%
  2. Salesforce.com – 75.5%
  3. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals – 72.9%
  4. Incyte – 70.8%
  5. Alexion Pharmaceuticals – 70%

Another Forbes article entitled Strong Innovators Mine Big Data: Insights From BCG’s 50 Most Innovative Companies, 2016 proposes a different list of innovative companies based on insights from an annual report published by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Highlights along with an interactive guide of BCG’s findings are online here. The full report is also available for download in PDF format. The top five using their methodology are:

  1. Apple
  2. Google
  3. Tesla
  4. Microsoft
  5. Amazon

So, who do you believe? Before you answer, yet another interesting take on what fosters innovation might give you more things to consider. Have a look at the following video which considers the environmental aspect of innovation:

Whether innovation to you can be incremental or it must entail revolutionary ideation, 2016 was a banner year for many companies across a variety of industries. Regardless of the list you use, each provides case studies of unconventional knowledge that could foster your own ‘eureka’ moment.

What company is your personal bellwether of innovation? Tell us about your quest for unconventional knowledge and what it could mean for the future of your products or companies. Share your thoughts in the comments section below and don’t forget to follow us on your favorite social media channel.


All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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