By John Kell and Alan Murray
December 2, 2015

The Boston Consulting Group is out this morning with its 50 Most Innovative Companies list. It is based on a survey of 1,500 C-suite executives, who are asked to rank companies across industries and within their own industry. The list also gives weight to total returns to shareholders.


Top three on the list – Apple, Google, Tesla – will come as no surprise. But it gets interesting after that. Samsung clocked in at a very respectable number 5. Automakers, including Tesla, earned four spots in the top ten, including Toyota (6), BMW (7) and Daimler (10.) Study co-author Andrew Taylor says the strong showing reflects how much autos have changed in the last decade, both in their power trains and as “delivery systems for other innovative technologies.”


Another surprise is how few inroads Chinese companies have made. There’s not one in the top ten. Tencent is first at 12, and then there’s a big jump to Huawei (45) and Lenovo (50). Taylor says that’s an increase from a decade ago, when there were no Chinese companies on the list, and he thinks their presence will grow. “The rate of innovation of Chinese companies is increasing, and the perception of their innovation is increasing,” he said, “but with a lag.”


The U.S. is still home to a majority of the companies – 29 of 50 – although that includes Pfizer (44), which is soon off to Ireland. (Have I mentioned that before?)


The BCG survey found the importance of speed is on the rise, with executives citing overly long development times as their biggest obstacle to innovating. It also noted the changing role of technology. “Technology used to live in its own silo – the IT department. Today, digital, mobile, big data and other technologies are used to support and enable innovation across the organization, from new product development to manufacturing to go-to-market strategies, in multiple industries.”


You can see the full list here. And you can read the full report here.


Separately, we are releasing this morning Roger Lowenstein’s provocative essay from Fortune’s upcoming annual Investor’s Guide, which looks at the mediocre performance of private equity firms since 2006. “As an industry, mutual funds long ago dropped any pretense of beating the market,” Lowenstein writes. “Can private equity be far behind?”


More below.


Alan Murray


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