UK trailing when it comes to innovation

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published a comprehensive list of the most innovative companies around the world in 2014.

The list shows that certain companies have enjoyed continual year on year success, with Apple at the top of every list since 2005.

As usual, technology and telecommunications companies tend to trend toward the top positions, taking the top five spots in 2014 and making up 21 of the top 50 companies, the most since 2010. Samsung and Google have been vying for the second and third spot respective, followed by Microsoft and IBM.

Consumer products, meanwhile, make up 14 of the top 50 positions, the most since 2010.

The most obvious change is the falling number of vehicle manufacturers, with only 9 car companies on the list, and only four in the top 20, compared with three vehicle manufacturers in the top ten last year. This is attributed to a decline in innovation priority, with only 62% of auto companies assigning innovation a top-three position, a fall of 26 points from last years 84%.

In spite of the recent emphasis on innovation in the UK, Britain is comparatively faltering.

Only one UK company made the list; Unilever, posted at number 49. This is a significant reduction when compared to three British companies making the list in 2013.

It seems that British executives are more likely to rate their companies’ innovation as average, with as many as 95% ranking innovation skills as “worse” than any other country.

A tiny minority of 1% ranked themselves as strong or disruptive innovators, and just 9% citing innovation as a corporate priority, despite 62% reporting than innovation was a “top three” priority, an increase from 48% in 2013. Only 55% of companies plan to increase innovation spending in 2014, down from 68% the previous year.

Andrew Taylor, a BCG partner and co-author of the report, said:

“While innovation remains a top corporate priority, executives are feeling less confident in their innovation capabilities…”

“Multiple factors are raising the bar — and in the eyes of business leaders, increasing the need for breakthrough innovations. But very few companies are prepared to break through.”

Kim Wagner, a BCG senior partner and report co-author confirmed that:

“Too many companies want to shoot for the moon while their innovation programs are barely airborne.”


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Words: Peter Cribley


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