Companies that capitalise on the four elements of digital innovation, including big data analytics, fast adoption of new technologies, mobile products and capabilities and digital design, out-innovate competitors and grow faster, according to an annual report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
In its study The Most Innovative Companies 2018, Innovators Go All In On Digital, in which Apple kept the top spot, seven of the top 10 companies are digital natives – and so digital innovators by definition.
But the BCG found that traditional companies are increasingly trying to innovate digitally and more expansively. Most of those on the list have built digital technologies into their innovation programmes, across several industries and in traditionally conservative businesses.
The innovation strategies of companies like Toyota, Unilever and Marriott, which also feature on the list, incorporate digital innovations in the form of new products and services, more efficient operations, adapted internal processes and new business models.
The widening innovation gap
However, as some move more aggressively to digitise their innovation programmes, others are slower to adopt digital approaches, thus widening the gap between strong and weak innovators. The study found that 79% of strong innovators have digitised innovation processes compared to 29% of weak innovators.
Recognising that the shift to digital innovation is difficult, BCG concluded that business leaders need to think differently about innovation strategy. They found a theme among successful innovators, which includes dedicating resources and shifting investments, investing in speed, taking smart risks and investing in data.
See the complete list of the 50 Most Innovative Companies here.