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The BCG most innovative companies ranking is based in large part on a survey of 2,500 global innovation executives (63% C level, 37% senior vice-president or vice-president level) who were polled from August 2019 through October 2019. We assess companies’ performance on four dimensions and then take an average of normalized scores to calculate the overall ranking. This year, as noted in the text, we added a new scoring dimension that captures each company’s variety and intensity of boundary breaking, by assessing its ability to breach established industry entry barriers and play in an array of markets outside its own. These four dimensions are:
Before 2008, these rankings were based on a single criterion—respondents’ picks. That year, we expanded the scope and assessed three financial measures over a three-year period: total shareholder return (TSR), revenue growth, and margin growth. TSR reflected stock price appreciation and dividends. Respondents’ votes determined 80% of the ranking, TSR accounted for 10%, revenue growth determined 5%, and margin growth accounted for 5%.
In 2015, we revisited our methodology to make the results more robust and to reflect the top innovators across all industries. We asked respondents to rank the most innovative companies both inside and outside their industry. To create a better balance of subjective and objective measures, respondents’ votes for companies within their industry accounted for 30% of the ranking, their votes for companies outside their industry accounted for 30%, and—to simplify the financial inputs—three-year TSR accounted for 40%.
From 2016 through 2019, we assigned nonpublic startups a notional three-year TSR for the top 50 analysis to avoid disadvantaging those with high valuations that promised strong returns. We defined startups as private companies founded after 2001. The TSR we used was the average three-year TSR for companies that were founded after 2001, had an initial public offering between 2010 and 2014 (the latest year for which a three-year TSR was available for this year’s analysis), and had a market capitalization of more than $1 billion when they went public.
BCG did not publish survey results in 2011, choosing instead to take a step back and redesign the survey to focus much more on how companies and industries innovate.
Sources: 2005–2010 BCG/BusinessWeek Senior Executive Innovation Survey; 2012–2018 BCG Global Innovators Survey; BCG ValueScience Center analysis.