The country’s most innovative companies — and why they are

When a group of well-known CEOs were recently asked to rank the most innovative companies in the country, their responses almost unanimously reinforced the notion that an ability to adapt and survive in a changing marketplace is the most valuable commodity a company has right now.

The survey, conducted by BusinessWeek, asked CEOs to name three companies outside their industry that they felt were the most innovative, and provide evidence to back up their claims. Here are the results, along with the prevailing philosophy behind each CEO’s choices:

James Skinner, CEO, McDonald’s:

  1. Apple
  2. Dreamworks
  3. Google

Prevailing wisdom: These are three companies that have proven their ability to adapt and change quickly based on what the market dictates. They also have tremendous global appeal because they invest in cutting-edge ideas that keep them a step ahead of international competitors.

Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO, Infosys Technoogies:

  1. Apple
  2. Cisco Systems
  3. Samsung

Prevailing wisdom: While a lot of other companies are racing to market with new products and upgrades, these three companies have learned to anticipate what customers will want next, then move quickly to provide it. Unless other companies can learn to replicate that business model, they’ll always be playing catch up.

Craig R. Barrett, Chairman, Intel:

  1. Apple
  2. Nokia
  3. BMW

Prevailing wisdom: These companies are always offering new, exciting products that capture the imagination of the buying public. But they’re also masters of marketing those products to the masses, which is the key to making new product lines successful.

George W. Buckley, CEO, 3M:

  1. Caterpillar
  2. IBM
  3. Deere

Prevailing wisdom: While the manufacturing sector is facing tough times due to automation, technology, and less reliance on manpower, these companies are transitioning from a manufacturing-based culture to a service-based culture, which allows them to market themselves more effectively and maintain a considerable share of the market.

Obviously, Apple is the gold standard for most CEOs when it comes to innovation. The company has retained its best-in-class status for more than a decade now, based largely on proactive moves it made prior to the economic downturn. Apple has continued to introduce new products and invest in new technology despite the economic downturn. In that sense the company has positioned itself to emerge from the recession on top.CEO Steve Jobs boils Apple’s success down to a very simple marketing philosophy: “Apple products work, and if you buy more than one, they work even better.”

What companies would you add to this list? And why? We’d love to know what you think in the comments section below.

Source:CEOs’ Picks: Most Innovative Companies,” BusinessWeek, 4/9/09.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *