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The Most Innovative Companies of 2021 According to BCG

The Most Innovative Companies of 2021 According to BCG
Apple Headquarters, Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. 
  • Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, and Tesla are considered the five most innovative companies, according to BCG’s analysis of the 50 most innovative companies of 2021. 
  • Abbott Labs, AstraZeneca, Comcast, Mitsubishi, and Moderna join the top 50 most innovative companies for the first time this year.
  • The fastest movers include Toyota, who jumped from 41st to 21st; Salesforce, who jumped from 35th to 22nd; and Coca-Cola, who jumped from 48th to 28th.
  • 90% of companies that outperform on innovation outcomes demonstrate clear C-suite ownership of the innovation agenda.

These and many other insights are from the Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) 15th annual report defining the world’s 50 most innovative companies in 2021. BCG surveyed 1,500 global innovation executives and found a 10% point increase, to 75%, in executives reporting that innovation is a top-three priority at their companies today. That’s the most significant year-over-year increase in the 15 global innovation surveys BCG has conducted since 2005. BCG’s Most Innovative Companies 2021: Overcoming the Innovation Readiness Gap is available for download free here (28 pp., PDF).  This years’ report methodology focuses on identifying the factors causing a large innovation readiness gap between the world’s most innovative companies and their peers across industries. Please see page 23 of the study for the methodology.

Key insights from BCGs’ most innovative companies of 2020 include the following:

  • Creating a new COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year, inventing test kits in weeks to protect public health, and redefining online shopping and safe home delivery reflect the versatility of the world’s most innovative companies in 2021. Pzifer, Moderna, and Merck & Company’s innate ability to innovate gave everyone a decade of their lives back. Delivering a vaccine in a year when the initial projection was a decade reflects the innovative efficiency of these companies. 2021 is the first year Abbott Labs, who invented and scaled the production of COVID-19 test kits, is included in the 50 most innovative companies worldwide. Amazon and Walmart’s logistics and e-commerce expertise helped ensure safe online shopping and fast home delivery was available to millions of people under stay-at-home orders.
The Most Innovative Companies of 2021 According to BCG
  • Five factors most differentiate the most and least innovative companies. The basis of BCG’s methodology to identify the 50 most innovative companies in 2021 centers on their innovation-to-impact (i2i) framework. The framework is designed to help companies measure the readiness of their innovation programs to operate at a consistently high level of efficiency and effectiveness. The BCG i2i scoring system identified five factors that most differentiate innovative company leaders and laggards. The five factors that best indicate how innovative a company has the potential to be are shown in the following graphic:  
The Most Innovative Companies of 2021 According to BCG

  • Lack of collaboration between sales, marketing & R&D is the major obstacle to innovation.    31% of all companies surveyed see poor collaboration between marketing and R&D as the most significant obstacle to improving the return on their innovation investments. According to BCG, the collaboration between marketing, sales, and R&D is the most challenging in the Pharmaceutical industry, where 42% of respondents say it’s the biggest hurdle to achieving more significant returns on innovation.
The Most Innovative Companies of 2021 According to BCG
  • Digital transformation of the core business is now a top priority for 75% of CEOs, and 65% of firms are doubling down on their plans for transformation with renewed urgency. BCG identified six success factors that together—and only together—flip the odds of digital transformation success from 30% to 80%. Those six success factors are close integration of digital strategy with the business strategy, commitment from the CEO through middle management, a talent core of digital superstars, business-led and flexible technology and data platforms, agile governance, and effective monitoring of progress toward defined outcomes.

Conclusion

Companies that know how to collaborate quickly between customer and R&D teams have an inside edge on being innovation leaders. The world’s most innovative companies also have senior management teams committed to the long-term success of nascent, unproven programs. There’s greater tolerance for risk, more of a focus on customers first and innovating around their needs, and an intuitive sense of how to close innovation gaps that hold other companies back.  

LinkedIn Best Companies To Work For In 2021 Dominated By Tech

  • Four of LinkedIn’s top ten companies to grow your career in 2021 are tech leaders.
  • Amazon is the highest rated company, followed by Alphabet (2nd), IBM (6th), and Apple (8th).
  • 15 of the 50 top companies in the U.S. are in the tech industry, including Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP.

These and many other insights are from the LinkedIn Top Companies 2021: The 50 best workplaces to grow your career in the U.S. published today. All 50 companies are currently hiring and have over 300,000 jobs available right now. LinkedIn’s analysis of the best companies to grow your career spans 20 countries, including Australia, BrazilCanadaChinaFranceGermanyIndiaItalyJapanMalaysiaMexico, the Netherlands, the PhilippinesSaudi ArabiaSingaporeSpainQatar, the UAE, and the U.K. 

LinkedIn is relying on a new methodology for the 2021 Top Companies Report. They’re basing the methodology has seven key pillars, each revealing an important element of career progression: the ability to advance, skills growth, company stability, external opportunity, company affinity, gender diversity, and educational background. LinkedIn provides an in-depth description of how they built their methodology here.

The 10 Best Companies To Grow Your Career In 2021

  1. Amazon – According to LinkedIn, Amazon has built an innovative remote-onboarding system, and it has more than 30,000 openings now. The fastest-growing skills in demand at Amazon include User Experience Design (UED), Digital Illustration, and Interaction Design. LinkedIn’s analysis shows the most in-demand jobs are Health And Safety Specialist, Station Operations Manager, Learning Manager.
  1. Alphabet, Inc – Planning to add at least 10,000 jobs in the U.S. alone and investing $7B in data centers and offices across 19 states, Alphabet grew revenue 47% last year, reaching $13B.  According to LinkedIn, the most in-demand jobs are Digital Specialist, Field Sales Specialist, and Business Systems Analyst.
  1. JPMorgan Chase & Co. – JPMorgan now offers 300 accredited skills and education programs to its workers, and the bank has been boosting wages for thousands of customer-facing roles to $16-$20 an hour. The most in-demand jobs include Market Specialist, Software Engineering Specialist, and Mortgage Underwriter.
  1. AT&T – 2020 was a tough year for AT&T, increasing the urgency the company has to grow its wireless and WarnerMedia businesses. Due to the pandemic, the company had to close hundreds of stores. Fortunately, AT&T was able to help the employees affected by the closures to find new jobs. The most in-demand jobs are Service Analyst, Trading Analyst, and Investment Specialist.
  1. Bank of America – Bank of America rose to the challenges of 2020, quickly redeploying almost 30,000 employees to assist in its role facilitating the government-backed Paycheck Protection Program. The most in-demand jobs are Trading Analyst, Investment Specialist, and Financial Management Analyst.
  1. IBM – More than one-third of IBM’s revenue now comes from work related to cloud computing. The company’s Red Hat unit is a leading contributor to that growth, prizing skills such as Linux, Java, Python, and agile methodologies. IBM also is a leader in hiring autistic people through its Neurodiversity program. Most in-demand jobs include Back End Developer, Enterprise Account Executive, and Technical Writer.
  1. Deloitte –  Deloitte’s key activities span audit, assurance, tax, risk, and financial advisory work, as well as management consulting. It’s aiming to hire 19,000 people in the year ending May 29. Top recruiting priorities currently include cybersecurity, cloud computing, and analytics specialists.
  1. Apple – LinkedIn finds that Apple is committed to building an inclusive culture. Over half of its new hires in the U.S. represent historically underrepresented groups in tech — and the company claims to have achieved pay equity in every country where it operates—looking for an in? Apple has nearly 3,000 open jobs in the U.S. right now, ranging from its “genius” role at its retail stores to executive assistants and software engineers. 
  1. Walmart –  In February, the retail giant promised further raises to over 400,000 of its people and months later announced it would increase the share of its hourly store employees who work full-time to over 66% (up from 53% five years ago). Meanwhile, Walmart continues to think beyond the store as it ventures deeper into the e-commerce realm. Most in-demand jobs include Operational Specialist, Fulfillment Associate, and Replenishment Manager.
  1. EY – The accounting firm spent $450 million on employee training in 2020. And it is planning to hire over 15,000 people in the next year. With that much talent coming in, EY is focused on bringing in workers with diverse backgrounds, focusing on gender identity, race, and ethnicity, disability, LGBT+, and veterans. The most in-demand jobs include Strategy Director, Business Transformation Consultant, and Information Technology Consulting Manager.
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