How AI and big data analytics keep the most innovative companies ahead of the pack

Alphabet/Google is now the most innovative company in the world according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), unseating Apple’s 13-year dominance of their annual rankings.

  • Alphabet/Google is now the most innovative company in the world according to BCG, unseating Apple’s 13-year dominance of their annual rankings
  • Strong AI innovators are over three times more likely to have deep expertise in big data analytics
  • The ten most innovative companies in the world extensively use AI and platforms today to grow faster than competitors and markets
  • T-MobileDow DuPontValeStryker, and Rio Tonto join the list of the top 50 most innovative companies for the first time this year
  • Fastest movers include Adidas, who jumped from #35 to #10, SAP who increased from #42 to #28 and Phillips who improved from #49 to #29

These and many other insights are from the Boston Consulting Group’s 13th annual report defining the world’s most innovative companies in 2019. The Most Innovative Companies 2019: The Rise of AI, Platforms, and Ecosystems is a fascinating glimpse into the rising importance of artificial intelligence (AI) and of platforms that support innovation.

What makes this survey noteworthy is how it captures how AI’s use is rapidly expanding and how enterprises are relying on platforms to scale their efforts in this area. BCG is providing an Interactive Guide that compares the 50 most innovative companies in the world, sortable by industry, company and year.

There’s also interactive analysis of 'steady innovators' or those companies who’ve appeared on the list every year since 2005. There are breakouts of new entrants, returnees, and movers for easier analysis. The report is available for download here (28 pp., PDF, free). Forbes also has an annual list of the world’s most innovative companies you can find here. The methodology Forbes uses is explained in the post, How We Rank The Most Innovative Companies 2018.

Key insights from BCGs’ most innovative companies of 2019 include the following:

What differentiates the world’s most innovative companies are their creation and use of AI and platforms with Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft leading all others

Each of them is actively creating and providing AI-based applications, platforms and ecosystems that enable enterprises to improve customer experiences, creating entirely new revenue streams, business models and competitive advantages. Alphabet/Google has defined its direction as an “AI first” company, intentionally creating a culture of AI-driven innovation. The following is BCG’s list of the most innovative companies of 2019:

Enterprises who rate themselves strongest at innovation and better than average at AI base their self-evaluations on successfully changing customer experiences

BCG found that the most advanced enterprises using AI today are succeeding at changing customer experiences, creating new business models and measuring AI’s contribution to streamlining internal processes. 19.2% of all enterprises interviewed perceive themselves as being better than average at AI and strong innovators. The following graphic compares how enterprises rate themselves at AI versus their strength at innovation:

Strong AI innovators are over three times more likely to have deep expertise in big data analytics

Enterprises who perceive themselves as strong AI innovators based on their success using AI to improve customer experiences, create new business models and streamline operations are two times as likely to be faster at adopting new technologies. They’re also 65% more likely to be actively targeting technology platforms to scale their AI initiatives and strategies further. The following graphic compares strong and weak innovators’ relative levels of adoption across 15 different innovation and product development categories:

Big data analytics, the speed of adopting tech, digital design, and technology platforms are the four areas enterprises who consider themselves strong innovators have the widest perceived advantage over weak innovators

When enterprises were asked which of the following 15 areas of innovation and product development will be the most impactful over the next three to five years, Big data analytics was far and away the most valued by strong versus weak innovators. Digital design and speed of adopting tech are two additional areas of innovation and product development that most differentiate the most and least innovative companies.

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