Companies that prioritize innovation and make sure they are ready to act are widening the gap over less capable competitors. Leaders at those firms are consistently delivering new products, entering new markets, and establishing new revenue streams. The laggards struggle to make real headway. Some notable takeaways from this year’s report include:
  • Innovation-ready leaders (those that are ready to develop product, process, and business model innovations that can deliver sustainable impact) are pulling ahead by using innovation to build their resilience to economic uncertainty and fuel their pursuit of lower emissions.
  • During the last recession (2009), less than two-thirds of companies ranked innovation as a top-three priority and only 58% planned to increase spending. This year, in stark contrast, 79% of companies see innovation as a top three priority, and 66% plan to increase spending—42% by more than 10%.
  • “Ready” companies are using AI to rapidly expand innovation possibilities. But while a majority of companies (61%) have invested in AI, far fewer (45%) have managed to translate this into business impact.
The link between innovation and both growth and advantage is becoming stronger than ever. Winners will continue to widen their lead until others reset their own priorities and investments for the future.


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Innovation has never been more important—and leading innovators are showing why. The top 50 companies in the 2023 Most Innovative Companies report outperform the MSCI World Index on shareholder return by 3.3 percentage points per year.

How Leaders Are Demonstrating the Advantages of Innovation

In this year’s Most Innovative Companies report, we examine what innovation-ready leaders (those that are ready to develop product, process, and business model innovations that can deliver sustainable impact) are doing to pull ahead. We also discuss the importance of innovation in terms of how it helps leaders build their resilience to economic uncertainty.

Explore the Collection
Explore the Collection

Download the 2023 Most Innovative Companies report

The Formula for Innovation from Leading Companies

Leaders are consistently delivering new products, entering new markets, and establishing new revenue streams, while laggards struggle to make headway beyond incremental improvements.

Read chapter one

A Downturn Ups the Stakes in Innovation

Times have changed. During the 2009 downturn, only 58% of companies planned to increase spending and almost 15% expected to cut innovation investment. Today, a growing number of companies are beginning to recognize the advantages of innovation, with 79% ranking it among their top three priorities (15 points more than in 2009) and 66% planning to increase spending (42% by more than 10%).

Read chapter two

How Early Winners Are Unlocking AI’s Potentials

The question is not whether AI can have an impact, but rather if companies are using AI properly and for use cases with the potential to drive real business value.

Read chapter three

Building Resilience and Advantage Through Innovation

Once again, we see the most innovative companies producing greater shareholder returns and building resilience and advantage through innovation. BCG’s 2023 global survey highlights the advantages of innovation and how leaders are outpacing others by using tools whose importance is climbing fast, such as M&A, portfolio planning, and AI.

Our 2023 survey found a near-record high level of innovation importance: 79% of companies ranked innovation among their top three priorities, up from 75% in 2022, and more than 40% expect to significantly increase spending this year, a jump of 16 percentage points over the last economic downturn in 2009.

But there is also an emerging group of companies that is going much further and putting innovation front and center in their future growth strategies. While all companies on average expect to allocate more money toward incremental innovations close to the core, this small group of innovation-ready companies is allocating fully one-third of spending toward developing breakthrough innovations.

These companies use a wide array of strategic tools to strengthen their innovation platforms and practices and are much more aggressive in their use of M&A, targeting innovative technologies or processes, or acquiring leaders and employees with a demonstrated ability to innovate. They also are more likely to orchestrate or participate in ecosystems, engaging with external partners—and even competitors—on innovations. They drive digital innovation with a clear bias toward new digital products, agile teaming, and improving customer and marketing insights. They leverage the power of innovation in AI, and regularly review the performance of innovation units or vehicles and shift resources toward centers of success. They understand that effective portfolio governance and management, especially with respect to data transparency, are key to driving impact.

Explore 17 years of the 50 most innovative companies

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Perspectives on Strategy and Value: Insights on creating sustainable value in an uncertain world.