What makes a single company be the most innovative business in the world and what can other businesses learn from what they are doing right?
Every year the consultancy firm, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) surveys global company executives for a snapshot of the most innovative companies in the world. For the 2014 report the firm surveyed 1,500 senior executives.
Each company’s executive is asked to rate the companies in their industry by how innovative they are. Those results are then weighted to reflect three-year shareholder growth, revenue growth, and margin growth.
The survey results showed that the tech industry continues to lead in innovation. American tech giant Apple took the lead as the most innovative company on the planet, a position that it has maintained since 2005.
Search engine and advertising company Google came ahead of tech and electronics giant, Samsung, which came in third.
Automobile corporations saw the biggest drop-off of any industry. In 2013, 14 automobile corporations made the list, that number has fallen to just nine this year.
Here are the four most significant factors that innovative companies share:
1. Successful innovators work hard to make sure that the value of innovation is reflected in their corporate cultures, and to see that they are organised to more new ideas.
According to the survey, strong innovators not only put a high value on innovation, but demonstrate consistent commitment even in the face of failure. These innovators are said to encourage collaborations, reward ideas, and seek to capitalise on good ideas both quickly and with a appropriate level of support.
2. Companies specialising in digital technologies dominate the list. But only about a third of all executives projected that big data would have a significant impact on innovation their industries over the next three to five years.
The survey showed that companies in rapidly developing economies were particularly aggressive pursuers of innovation.
According to the survey, the software industry is the one in which the majority of respondents see big data as having a significant impact on innovation. But 75% of all respondents said their companies are not targeting big data in their innovation programs. And a greater number of respondents saw telecommunications having an impact on medium-term innovation.
3. Innovation remains a top priority, with some significant sectoral and regional developments. More than 60% of the 1, 500 senior innovation executives surveyed said they plan to spend more on innovation than they did two years ago, the survey says.
4. Innovation is hard. Breakthrough innovation is even harder. Too many companies want to shoot for the moon when their innovation programs are barely airborne, the survey found.
It also found that 13% of respondents have a significant ambition to deliver radical innovation, and that breakthrough innovators stand out in three ways: they cast wide nets for ideas, they use business model innovation more, and they have cultures geared toward breakthrough success.
This article first appeared on WEF Agenda in collaboration with Business Insider.