Every year, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) releases their Most Innovative Companies ranking.
Based on a survey of over 1,000 innovation executives polled in Dec. 2022 and Jan. 2023, BCG assessed a company’s performance on four dimensions:
Global mindshare: the number of votes received from all global innovation executives
Industry peer view: the number of votes received from executives in a company’s own industry
Industry disruption: the Diversity Index (Herfindahl-Hirschman) of votes across industries
Value creation: total shareholder return, including share buybacks, over the 3-year period from Jan. 2020 through Dec. 2022.
Visual Capitalists Marcus Lu and Athul Alexander provide a more visual representation of these results in the graphic below.
Data and Highlights
The 2023 ranking can be found in the table below.
For the fourth straight year, Apple is considered the most innovative company in the world. In fact, Apple has held this title every year since 2005 with the exception of 2019.
|Rank||Company||Industry||Change in Rank|
(+ or -)
|2||🇺🇸 Tesla||Transportation & energy||+3|
|9||🇨🇳 BYD Company||Transportation & energy||Returned|
|12||🇺🇸 Johnson & Johnson||Healthcare||+15|
|13||🇺🇸 SpaceX||Transportation & energy||Returned|
|15||🇺🇸 ExxonMobil||Transportation & energy||Returned|
|17||🇺🇸 Nike||Consumer goods & services||-5|
|19||🇺🇸 3M||Consumer goods & services||+18|
|20||🇮🇳 Tata Group||Transportation & energy||Returned|
|24||🇬🇧 Shell||Transportation & energy||Returned|
|25||🇫🇷 Schneider Electric||Transportation & energy||New|
|26||🇺🇸 P&G||Consumer goods & services||+8|
|27||🇨🇭 Nestlé||Consumer goods & services||+22|
|28||🇺🇸 General Electric||Transportation & energy||+1|
|30||🇺🇸 Honeywell||Transportation & energy||New|
|32||🇨🇳 Sinopec||Transportation & energy||New|
|33||🇯🇵 Hitachi||Transportation & energy||+6|
|34||🇺🇸 McDonald's||Consumer goods & services||Returned|
|37||🇩🇪 Bosch||Transportation & energy||-11|
|39||🇨🇭 Glencore||Transportation & energy||New|
|41||🇸🇦 Saudi Aramco||Transportation & energy||New|
|42||🇺🇸 Coca-Cola||Consumer goods & services||-6|
|43||🇩🇪 Mercedes-Benz Group||Transportation & energy||Returned|
|45||🇺🇸 Walmart||Consumer goods & services||-32|
|46||🇨🇳 PetroChina||Transportation & energy||New|
|49||🇩🇪 BMW||Transportation & energy||Returned|
|50||🇬🇧 Unilever||Consumer goods & services||-|
BCG added additional context on several companies in its report, including Germany’s Bosch (37th). According to BCG, the engineering and technology company has a global R&D organization of 84,800 employees across 130 locations. Bosch has also maintained R&D spending (as a share of sales) at between 7.6% and 8.2% from 2018 through 2021.
Another highlight was Samsung (7th), which spent over $17 billion (9% of annual sales) on R&D in 2021, making the South Korean conglomerate one of the world’s largest spenders on innovation. Samsung was also granted 6,300 U.S. patents in 2022, the most out of any company.
As this ranking shows, innovative companies aren’t just tech companies. McDonald’s (34th) is considered by BCG as the “restaurant industry frontrunner in technology innovation and investment”.
For example, McDonald’s recently acquired Apprente, a startup that develops voice-based technologies, and Dynamic Yield, a firm specializing in creating customizable online experiences. McDonald’s aims to leverage these technologies to improve ordering times and offer customers better choices.
Companies by Nationality
Now let’s examine the ranking through a different lens—nationality. The following chart compares the country breakdowns of the 2013 and 2023 rankings.
The U.S. and China are the only two countries that have increased their share from 2013, pushing out firms from European countries like Germany, the UK, and Italy. We can also see significant declines in Japanese and South Korean representation.
Given China’s economic growth, it’s likely that Chinese firms will continue to represent more of BCG’s ranking in the future. So far, the country’s strongest innovator is Huawei (8th), which has made the top 50 list every year since 2014, when it debuted at 50th place.