Sustain Innovation and Stay on Top

I decided to take a look at the rankings of the 25 most innovative companies according to Bloomberg Businessweek from 2006 through this year and Fast Company’s current list. For Businessweek, the expected players such as Apple(AAPL_) and Google(GOOG_) were present, and their status remained unchanged at Nos. 1 and 2 respectively for all years I examined. Fast Company ranked these same companies at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. The difference in rankings of these two companies, as well as the difference in which other companies made each list, illustrates how perspective does make a difference.

Also on the lists are companies known for their customer experience (e.g., Amazon(AMZN_), Google, Volkswagen, BMW and Coca-Cola(KO_)); these companies emphasize the experience, but cannot deliver it without a product that will back up the market position. Still other companies are process dominant, such as IBM(IBM_), Microsoft(MSFT_), Toyota and Proctor & Gamble(PG_). But most sustainable businesses appear to be those that have been innovative in multiple ways. Few would think of Apple without thinking about its products, but those standout products are successful because of the company’s understanding of their customers’ needs and desires, providing a product for the market often before customers know they want it.

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