Rob Preston at InformationWeek picks on an annual list of innovative companies from Boston Consulting Group:
“Meantime, show us the seminal innovations in 2012 from the likes of No. 17 Coca-Cola (caffeine-free Diet Cherry Coke?), No. 18 Dell (a nice consolidation of its market position, but …), No. 20 Wal-Mart (more everyday low prices?) and No. 30 Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light Lime?).
BCG's top 50 ranking is heavily skewed toward just four industries: top heavy on technology and automotive, plus industrial products/processes and consumer/retail. No pharma, no healthcare, no agriculture, no logistics.”
I agree such lists of companies are flawed, but for different reasons.
Apple is Apple because Steve Jobs brought together an amazing team with Tim Cook, an operational genius, Jonathan Ive, a design genius, Ron Johnson, a retail genius, Philip Schiller, a marketing genius and many more. Apple is Apple because it leveraged the innovations created by people at Corning, Foxconn and countless other suppliers.
Innovation happens at a cellular level than “company”. If I had focused on a company based list in my last book, I would not have profiled:
- “Non-Companies” like Roosevelt Island with its smart parking and tidal power or the country of Estonia with world leading civic services like electronic ballots and medical records
- Projects like the hyper efficient Facebook Prineville data center or the various innovative projects that came together in the Boeing 787 (yes, they are still innovative in my eyes even with its battery issues)
- Business models like those of Valence Health and the varied ones Apple brought to music, mobile and books with the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad
- Products like the Lexmark Genesis and the Virgin America high-tech cabin
- Designers like Robert Brunner and Yves Behar who have designed some of the most innovative products of the last decade
Digging for innovation in all corners of the enterprise makes it messier to catalog and it takes lots more pages than a list takes. It also disappoints many who are fans of “silver bullets” and hope to learn about innovation from just studying Apple or Google.