Ranked: the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2021
This year has been rife with pandemic-induced changes that have shifted corporate priorities—and yet, innovation has remained a top concern among corporations worldwide.
Using data from the annual ranking done by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) using a poll of 1,600 global innovation professionals, this graphic ranks the top 50 most innovative companies in 2021.
We’ll dig into a few of the leading companies, along with their innovative practices, below.
Most Innovative Companies: A Breakdown of the Leaderboard
To create the top 50 innovative company ranking, BCG uses four variables:
- Global “Mindshare”: The number of votes from all innovation executives.
- Industry Peer Review: The number of votes from executives in a company’s industry.
- Industry Disruption: A diversity index to measure votes across industries.
- Value Creation: Total share return.
For the second year in a row, Apple claims the top spot on this list. Here’s a look at the full ranking for 2021:
|Company||Industry||HQ||Change from 2020|
|3||Amazon||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||--|
|5||Tesla||Transport & Energy||🇺🇸 U.S.||+6|
|6||Samsung||Technology||🇰🇷 South Korea||-1|
|9||Sony||Consumer Goods||🇯🇵 Japan||--|
|12||LG Electronics||Consumer Goods||🇰🇷 South Korea||+6|
|14||Alibaba||Consumer Goods||🇨🇳 China||-7|
|17||Cisco Systems||Technology||🇺🇸 U.S.||-5|
|18||Target||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||+4|
|19||HP Inc.||Technology||🇺🇸 U.S.||-4|
|20||Johnson & Johnson||Healthcare||🇺🇸 U.S.||+6|
|21||Toyota||Transport & Energy||🇯🇵 Japan||+20|
|23||Walmart||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||-10|
|24||Nike||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||-8|
|25||Lenovo||Technology||🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR||Return|
|26||Tencent||Consumer Goods||🇨🇳 China||-12|
|27||Procter & Gamble||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||+12|
|28||Coca-Cola||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||+20|
|29||Abbott Labs||Healthcare||🇺🇸 U.S.||New|
|30||Bosch||Transport & Energy||🇩🇪 Germany||+3|
|32||Ikea||Consumer Goods||🇳🇱 Netherlands||Return|
|33||Fast Retailing||Consumer Goods||🇯🇵 Japan||Return|
|34||Adidas||Consumer Goods||🇩🇪 Germany||Return|
|35||Merck & Co.||Healthcare||🇺🇸 U.S.||Return|
|37||Ebay||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||Return|
|38||PepsiCo||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||Return|
|39||Hyundai||Transport & Energy||🇰🇷 South Korea||Return|
|41||Inditex||Consumer Goods||🇪🇸 Spain||Return|
|44||Disney||Media & Telecomms||🇺🇸 U.S.||Return|
|45||Mitsubishi||Transport & Energy||🇯🇵 Japan||New|
|46||Comcast||Media & Telecomms||🇺🇸 U.S.||New|
|47||GE||Transport & Energy||🇺🇸 U.S.||Return|
One company worth touching on is Pfizer, a returnee from previous years that ranked 10th in this year’s ranking. It’s no surprise that Pfizer made the list, considering its instrumental role in the fight against COVID-19. In partnership with BioNTech, Pfizer produced a COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year. This is impressive considering that, historically, vaccine development could take up to a decade to complete.
Pfizer is just one of four COVID-19 vaccine producers to appear on the list this year—Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca also made the cut.
Meanwhile, in a completely different industry, Toyota snagged the 21st spot on this year’s list, up 20 places compared to the rankings in the previous year. This massive jump can be signified by the company’s recent $400 million investment into a company set to build flying electric cars.
While we often think of R&D and innovation as being synonymous, the former is just one innovation technique that’s helped companies earn a spot on the list. Other companies have innovated in different ways, like streamlining processes to increase efficiency.
For instance, in 2021, Coca-Cola performed an analysis of their beverage portfolio and ended up cutting their brand list in half, from 400 to 200 global brands. This ability to pare down and pivot could be a reason behind its 20 rank increase from 2020.
Innovation Creates Value
As this year’s ranking indicates, innovation comes in many forms. But, while there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, there is one fairly consistent innovation trend—the link between innovation and value.
In fact, according to historical data from BCG, the correlation between value and innovation has grown even stronger over the last two decades.
For example, in 2020, a portfolio that was theoretically invested in BCG’s most innovative companies would have performed 17% better than the MSCI World Index—which wasn’t the case back in 2005.
And yet, despite innovation’s value, many companies can’t reap the benefits that innovation offers because they aren’t ready to scale their innovative practices.
The Innovation Readiness Gap
BCG uses several metrics to gauge a company’s “innovation readiness,” such as the strength of its talent and culture, its organization ecosystems, and its ability to track performance.
According to BCG’s analysis, only 20% of companies surveyed were ready to scale on innovation.
What’s holding companies back from reaching their innovation potential? The most significant gap seems to be in what BCG calls innovation practices—things like project management or the ability to execute an idea that’s both efficient and consistent with an overarching strategy.
To overcome this obstacle, BCG says companies need to foster a “one-team mentality” to increase interdepartmental collaboration and align team incentives, so everyone is working towards the same goal.
Mapped: The Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds in the World
Internet speeds vary depending on your location. Here’s a look at the countries with the fastest—and slowest—internet speeds worldwide.
Mapped: The World’s Fastest (and Slowest) Internet Speeds
How quickly did this page load for you?
The answer depends on the device you’re using, and where in the world you’re located. Average internet speeds vary wildly from country to country.
Which countries have the fastest internet connection? Using data from the Speedtest Global Index™, this map ranks the fastest (and slowest) internet speeds worldwide, comparing both fixed broadband and mobile.
What Factors Affect Internet Speed?
Before diving in, it’s important to understand the key factors that impact a country’s internet speed. Generally speaking, internet speed depends on:
- Infrastructure or the type of cabling (copper or fiber-optic) that a country’s utilizing to support their internet service. Typically, the newer the infrastructure, the faster the connection.
- Proximity/connection to submarine cables is important, as these massive undersea fiber-optic cables transmit about 97% of the world’s communication data.
- The size of a country, since landmass affects how much it costs to upgrade infrastructure. The smaller the country, the cheaper it is to upgrade cabling.
- Investment makes a difference, or how much a country’s government prioritizes internet accessibility.
Of course, other factors may influence a country’s internet speed too, such as government regulation and intentional bandwidth throttling, which is the case in countries like Turkmenistan.
Ranked: Fixed Broadband Internet Speeds
The Speedtest Global Index uses data from hundreds of millions of people, in more than 190 countries, to measure both fixed broadband and mobile connections.
When it comes to the fastest fixed broadband, Singapore comes in first place, with a download speed of 262.2 mbps—more than double the global average.
|#||Country||Global Speed (Mbps)|
|2||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||254.4|
|7||🇰🇷 South Korea||216.7|
|12||🇺🇸 United States||199|
|13||🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||195.11|
|20||🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)||170.84|
|23||🇳🇿 New Zealand||164.16|
|40||🇸🇲 San Marino||114.24|
|47||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||95.79|
|51||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||91.65|
|52||🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||87.42|
|74||🇨🇷 Costa Rica||57.27|
|76||🇧🇸 The Bahamas||55.89|
|78||🇿🇦 South Africa||53.6|
|80||🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||50.8|
|84||🇱🇨 Saint Lucia||49.5|
|90||🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina||43.1|
|91||🇲🇭 Marshall Islands||42.6|
|98||🇲🇰 North Macedonia||38.84|
|101||🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire||35.41|
|109||🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis||32.78|
|110||🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||31.85|
|116||🇸🇻 El Salvador||26.41|
|119||🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||26.05|
|123||🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||25.52|
|126||🇨🇬 Congo (Brazzaville)||24.12|
|128||🇪🇭 Western Sahara||23.84|
|130||🇨🇻 Cape Verde||23.78|
|139||🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar||19.78|
|146||🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda||17.11|
|152||🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||16.4|
|163||🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||12.17|
|164||🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||12.13|
|165||🇨🇩 DR Congo||11.46|
|169||🇸🇿 Swaziland (Eswatini)||10.62|
|172||🇬🇲 The Gambia||10.09|
Size could be a factor in Singapore’s speedy internet, as it’s one of the smallest
and also densest countries in the world. With a landmass of just 280 square miles, it’s around the same size as Austin, Texas.
The country’s government has also prioritized investment in digital infrastructure, especially in recent years. In 2020, the Singaporean government promised to invest $2.52 billion towards digital innovation, with a portion dedicated to upgrading the country’s telecom infrastructure.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Cuba has the slowest fixed broadband, with a speed of 3.46 mbps. Along with poor government funding, Cuba also has limited access to submarine cables. While most countries are connected to several, Cuba is only connected to one.
Ranked: Mobile Internet Speeds
Mobile internet uses cell towers to wirelessly transmit internet to your phone. Because of this extra element, the ranking for mobile internet speeds varies from fixed broadband.
|#||Country||Global Speed (Mbps)|
|1||🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||195.52|
|2||🇰🇷 South Korea||192.16|
|6||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||149.95|
|17||🇺🇸 United States||96.31|
|23||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||80.82|
|25||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||78.75|
|27||🇳🇿 New Zealand||73.17|
|34||🇲🇴 Macau (SAR)||62.43|
|42||🇲🇰 North Macedonia||57.37|
|47||🇿🇦 South Africa||50.44|
|66||🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||37.54|
|70||🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina||34.97|
|72||🇨🇷 Costa Rica||34.39|
|78||🇧🇸 The Bahamas||32.63|
|85||🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||31.07|
|93||🇲🇲 Republic of the Union of Myanmar||27.94|
|99||🇸🇻 El Salvador||25.17|
|125||🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire||18.37|
|130||🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||16.02|
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is first on the list, with a download speed of 195.5 mbps. Not only is mobile data fast in the UAE, it’s also relatively cheap, compared to other countries on the ranking. The average cost of 1 GB of data in the UAE is around $3.78, while in South Korea (#2 on the list) it’s $10.94.
The Future is 5G
Innovation and new technologies are changing the digital landscape, and things like 5G networks are becoming more mainstream across the globe.
Because of the rapidly changing nature of this industry, the data behind this ranking is updated monthly to provide the latest look at internet speeds across the globe.
This means the bar is gradually raising when it comes to internet speed, as faster, stronger internet connections become the norm. And countries that aren’t equipped to handle these souped-up networks will lag behind even further.
Ranked: Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During the First Half of 2021
Big Tech is worth trillions, but what are insiders doing with their stock? We breakdown Big Tech CEO insider trading during the first half of 2021.
Big Tech CEO Insider Trading During The First Half of 2021
When CEOs of major companies are selling their shares, investors can’t help but notice.
After all, these decisions have a direct effect on the personal wealth of these insiders, which can say plenty about their convictions with respect to the future direction of the companies they run.
Considering that Big Tech stocks are some of the most popular holdings in today’s portfolios, and are backed by a collective $5.3 trillion in institutional investment, how do the CEOs of these organizations rank by their insider selling?
|CEO||Stock||Shares Sold H1 2021||Value of Shares ($M)|
|Jeff Bezos||Amazon (AMZN)||2.0 million||$6,600|
|Mark Zuckerberg||Facebook (FB)||7.1 million||$2,200
|Satya Nadella||Microsoft (MSFT)||278,694||$65|
|Sundar Pichai||Google (GOOGL)||27,000||$62|
|Tim Cook||Apple (AAPL)||0||$0|
Breaking Down Insider Trading, by CEO
Let’s dive into the insider trading activity of each Big Tech CEO:
During the first half of 2021, Jeff Bezos sold 2 million shares of Amazon worth $6.6 billion.
This activity was spread across 15 different transactions, representing an average of $440 million per transaction. Altogether, this ranks him first by CEO insider selling, by total dollar proceeds. Bezos’s time as CEO of Amazon came to an end shortly after the half way mark for the year.
In second place is Mark Zuckerberg, who has been significantly busier selling than the rest.
In the first half of 2021, he unloaded 7.1 million shares of Facebook onto the open market, worth $2.2 billion. What makes these transactions interesting is the sheer quantity of them, as he sold on 136 out of 180 days. On average, that’s $12 million worth of stock sold every day.
Zuckerberg’s record year of selling in 2018 resulted in over $5 billion worth of stock sold, but over 90% of his net worth still remains in the company.
Next is Satya Nadella, who sold 278,694 shares of Microsoft, worth $234 million. Despite this, the Microsoft CEO still holds an estimated 1.6 million shares, which is the largest of any insider.
Microsoft’s stock has been on a tear for a number of years now, and belongs to an elite trillion dollar club, which consists of only six public companies.
Fourth on the list is Sundar Pichai who has been at the helm at Google for six years now. Since the start of 2021, he’s sold 27,000 shares through nine separate transactions, worth $62.5 million. However, Pichai still has an estimated 6,407 Class A and 114,861 Class C shares.
Google is closing in on a $2 trillion valuation and is the best performing Big Tech stock, with shares rising 60% year-to-date. Their market share growth from U.S. ad revenues is a large contributing factor.
Last, is Tim Cook, who just surpassed a decade as Apple CEO.
During this time, shares have rallied over 1,000% and annual sales have gone from $100 billion to $347 billion. That said, Cook has sold 0 shares of Apple during the first half of 2021. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t sold shares elsewhere, though. Cook also sits on the board of directors for Nike, and has sold $6.9 million worth of shares this year.
Measuring Insider Selling
All things equal, it’s desirable for management to have skin in the game, and be invested alongside shareholders. It can also be seen as aligning long-term interests.
A good measure of insider selling activity is in relation to the existing stake in the company. For example, selling $6.6 billion worth of shares may sound like a lot, but when there are 51.7 million Amazon shares remaining for Jeff Bezos, it actually represents a small portion and is probably not cause for panic.
If, however, executives are disclosing large transactions relative to their total stakes, it might be worth digging deeper.
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