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The Biggest Companies in the World in 2021

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Biggest Companies in the World by Market Cap

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The Biggest Companies in the World

View the high-resolution of the infographic by clicking here.

Since the COVID-19 crash, global equity markets have seen a strong recovery. The 100 biggest companies in the world were worth a record-breaking $31.7 trillion as of March 31 2021, up 48% year-over-year. As a point of comparison, the combined GDP of the U.S. and China was $35.7 trillion in 2020.

In today’s graphic, we use PwC data to show the world’s biggest businesses by market capitalization, as well as the countries and sectors they are from.

The Top 100, Ranked

PwC ranked the largest publicly-traded companies by their market capitalization in U.S. dollars. It’s also worth noting that sector classification is based on the FTSE Russell Industry Classification Benchmark, and a company’s location is based on where its headquarters are located.

Here is the top 100 ranking of the biggest companies in the world, organized from the biggest to the smallest.

RankCompany nameLocationSectorMarket Capitalization
1APPLE INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$2.1T
2SAUDI ARAMCO🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiaEnergy$1.9T
3MICROSOFT CORP🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$1.8T
4AMAZON.COM INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$1.6T
5ALPHABET INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$1.4T
6FACEBOOK INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$839B
7TENCENT🇨🇳 ChinaTechnology$753B
8TESLA INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$641B
9ALIBABA GRP🇨🇳 ChinaConsumer Discretionary$615B
10BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$588B
11TSMC🇹🇼 TaiwanTechnology$534B
12VISA INC🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$468B
13JPMORGAN CHASE🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$465B
14JOHNSON & JOHNSON🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$433B
15SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS🇰🇷 South KoreaTechnology$431B
16KWEICHOW MOUTA🇨🇳 ChinaConsumer Staples$385B
17WALMART INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$383B
18MASTERCARD INC🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$354B
19UNITEDHEALTH GRP🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$352B
20LVMH MOET HENNESSY🇫🇷 FranceConsumer Discretionary$337B
21WALT DISNEY CO🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$335B
22BANK OF AMERICA🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$334B
23PROCTER & GAMBLE🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Staples$333B
24NVIDIA CORP🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$331B
25HOME DEPOT INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$329B
26NESTLE SA🇨🇭 SwitzerlandConsumer Staples$322B
27IND & COMM BK🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$290B
28PAYPAL HOLDINGS🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$284B
29ROCHE HOLDING🇨🇭 SwitzerlandHealth Care$283B
30INTEL CORP🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$261B
31ASML HOLDING NV🇳🇱 NetherlandsTechnology$255B
32TOYOTA MOTOR🇯🇵 JapanConsumer Discretionary$254B
33COMCAST CORP🇺🇸 United StatesTelecommunications$248B
34VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS🇺🇸 United StatesTelecommunications$241B
35EXXON MOBIL CORP🇺🇸 United StatesEnergy$236B
36NETFLIX INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$231B
37ADOBE INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$228B
38COCA-COLA CO🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Staples$227B
39MEITUAN🇨🇳 ChinaTechnology$226B
40PING AN🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$219B
41CISCO SYSTEMS🇺🇸 United StatesTelecommunications$218B
42AT&T INC🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$216B
43L'OREAL🇫🇷 FranceConsumer Discretionary$215B
44CHINA CONSTRUCTION
BANK
🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$213B
45ABBOTT LABS🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$212B
46NOVARTIS AG🇨🇭 SwitzerlandHealth Care$212B
47NIKE INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$209B
48ORACLE CORP🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$202B
49PFIZER INC🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$202B
50CHEVRON CORP🇺🇸 United StatesOil & Gas$202B
51CHINA MERCH🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$196B
52PEPSICO INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Staples$195B
53SALESFORCE.COM🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$195B
54MERCK & CO🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$195B
55ABBVIE INC🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$191B
56BROADCOM INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$189B
57PROSUS NV🇳🇱 NetherlandsTechnology$181B
58RELIANCE INDS🇮🇳 IndiaEnergy$180B
59THERMO FISHER🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$180B
60ELI LILLY & CO🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$179B
61AGRICULTURAL BANK OF
CHINA
🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$178B
62SOFTBANK GROUP🇯🇵 JapanTelecommunications$176B
63ACCENTURE PLC🇮🇪 IrelandIndustrials$176B
64TEXAS INSTRUMENT🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$174B
65MCDONALDS CORP🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$167B
66VOLKSWAGEN AG🇩🇪 GermanyConsumer Discretionary$165B
67BHP GROUP LTD🇦🇺 AustraliaBasic Materials$163B
68WELLS FARGO & CO🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$162B
69TATA CONSULTANCY🇮🇳 IndiaTechnology$161B
70DANAHER CORP🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$160B
71NOVO NORDISK🇩🇰 DenmarkHealth Care$160B
72MEDTRONIC PLC🇮🇪 IrelandHealth Care$159B
73WULIANGYE YIBI🇨🇳 ChinaConsumer Staples$159B
74COSTCO WHOLESALE🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$156B
75T-MOBILE US INC🇺🇸 United StatesTelecommunications$156B
76CITIGROUP INC🇺🇸 United StatesFinancials$152B
77HONEYWELL INTL🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$151B
78QUALCOMM INC🇺🇸 United StatesTechnology$151B
79SAP SE🇩🇪 GermanyTechnology$151B
80BOEING CO🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$149B
81ROYAL DUTCH SHELL🇳🇱 NetherlandsOil & Gas$148B
82NEXTERA ENERGY🇺🇸 United StatesUtilities$148B
83UNITED PARCEL🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$148B
84UNION PAC CORP🇺🇸 United StatesIndustrials$148B
85UNILEVER PLC🇬🇧 United KingdomConsumer Staples$147B
86AIA🇭🇰 Hong Kong SARFinancials$147B
87LINDE PLC🇬🇧 United KingdomBasic Materials$146B
88AMGEN INC🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$144B
89BRISTOL-MYER SQB🇺🇸 United StatesHealth Care$141B
90SIEMENS AG🇩🇪 GermanyIndustrials$140B
91BANK OF CHINA🇨🇳 ChinaFinancials$139B
92PHILIP MORRIS INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Staples$138B
93LOWE'S COS INC🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$136B
94CHARTER
COMMUNICATIONS
🇺🇸 United StatesTelecommunications$135B
95CHINA MOBILE🇭🇰 Hong Kong SARTelecommunications$134B
96SONY GROUP CORP🇯🇵 JapanConsumer Discretionary$132B
97ASTRAZENECA PLC🇬🇧 United KingdomHealth Care$131B
98ROYAL BANK OF CANADA🇨🇦 CanadaFinancials$131B
99STARBUCKS CORP🇺🇸 United StatesConsumer Discretionary$129B
100ANHEUSER-BUSCH🇧🇪 BelgiumConsumer Staples$128B

Note: Data as of March 31, 2021.

Within the ranking, there was a wide disparity in value. Apple was worth over $2 trillion, more than 16 times that of Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev), which took the 100th spot at $128 billion.

In total, 59 companies were headquartered in the United States, making up 65% of the top 100’s total market capitalization. China and its regions was the second most common location for company headquarters, with 14 companies on the list.

Risers and Fallers

What are some of the notable changes to the biggest companies in the world compared to last year’s ranking?

Tesla’s market capitalization surged by an eye-watering 565%, temporarily making Elon Musk the richest person in the world. Food delivery platform Meituan and PayPal benefited from growing e-commerce popularity with their market capitalizations growing by 221% and 151% respectively.

Tech companies TSMC and ASML Holdings were also among the top 10 risers, thanks to a shortage of semiconductor chips and growing demand.

On the other end of the scale, Swiss companies Nestlé, Novartis, and Roche Holding were all among the bottom 10 companies by market capitalization growth. China Mobile was the only company to decline with a -12% change. The company was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange as a result of an executive order issued by former president Donald Trump, and recently announced its intention to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

A Sector View

Across the 100 biggest companies in the world, some sectors had higher weightings.

SectorTotal Market Cap in Top 100% of Top 100 Market CapNumber of Companies in Top 100
Technology$10.5T33.0%20
Consumer Discretionary$6.0T18.9%17
Financials$3.4T10.8%14
Health Care$3.3T10.5%16
Energy$2.7T8.5%5
Consumer Staples$2.0T6.4%9
Industrials$2.0T6.4%9
Telecommunications$1.3T4.1%7
Basic Materials$0.3T1.0%2
Utilities$0.1T0.5%1

Technology had the highest market capitalization and was also the most common sector, with Big Tech dominating the top 10. Companies in the consumer discretionary, financials, and health care sectors also had a strong representation in the ranking.

Despite having only five companies on the list, the energy sector amounted to almost 10% of the top 100’s market capitalization, mostly due to Saudi Aramco’s whopping valuation.

An Uncertain Recovery

From near market lows on March 31, 2020, all sectors saw increases in their market capitalization. However, top 100 companies in some sectors outperformed their respective industry index, while others did not.

Sector Performance of Biggest Companies in the World

Basic materials and industrials, both cyclical sectors, were high performers in the top 100 and outperformed their respective industry indexes. Technology companies also outperformed, and accounted for $255 billion or 31% of all shareholder distributions by the top 100, far more than any other sector. Apple alone spent $73 billion on share buybacks and $14 billion in dividends in the 2020 calendar year.

On the other hand, the worst-performing sectors in the top 100 were health care, utilities, and energy. While the index performance for health care and utilities was also relatively poor, the wider energy sector performed fairly well.

It’s perhaps not surprising that all sectors saw positive returns since their low levels in March 2020, buoyed by fiscal stimulus and central bank policies. As countries begin to reopen, will the value of the biggest companies in the world continue to climb?

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Markets

Mapped: GDP per Capita Worldwide

GDP per capita is one of the best measures of a country’s standard of living. This map showcases the GDP per capita in every country globally.

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gdp per capita

Mapped: Visualizing GDP per Capita Worldwide

View the high-resolution of the infographic by clicking here.

GDP per capita has steadily risen globally over time, and in tandem, the standard of living worldwide has increased immensely.

This map using data from the IMF shows the GDP per capita (nominal) of nearly every country and territory in the world.

GDP per capita is one of the best measures of a country’s wealth as it provides an understanding of how each country’s citizens live on average, showing a representation of the quantity of goods and services created per person.

The Standard of Living Over Time

Looking at history, our standard of living has increased drastically. According to Our World in Data, from 1820 to 2018, the average global GDP per capita increased by almost 15x.

Literacy rates, access to vaccines, and basic education have also improved our quality of life, while things like child mortality rates and poverty have all decreased.

For example, in 1990, 1.9 billion people lived in extreme poverty, which was 36% of the world’s population at the time. Over the last 30 years, the number has been steadily decreasing — by 2030, an estimated 479 million people will be living in extreme poverty, which according to UN population estimates, will represent only 6% of the population.

That said, economic inequality between different regions is still prevalent. In fact, the richest country today (in terms of nominal GDP per capita), Luxembourg, is over 471x more wealthy than the poorest, Burundi.

Here’s a look at the 10 countries with the highest GDP per capita in 2021:

gdp per capita top 10 countries

However, not all citizens in Luxembourg are extremely wealthy. In fact:

  • 29% of people spend over 40% of their income on housing costs
  • 31% would be at risk of falling into poverty if they had to forgo 3 months of income

The cost of living is expensive in Luxembourg — but the standard of living in terms of goods and services produced is the highest in the world. Additionally, only 4% of the population reports low life satisfaction.

Emerging Economies and Developing Countries

Although we have never lived in a more prosperous period, and poverty rates have been declining overall, this year global extreme poverty rose for the first time in over two decades.

About 120 million additional people are living in poverty as a result of the pandemic, with the total expected to rise to about 150 million by the end of 2021.

Many of the poorest countries in the world are also considered Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by the UN. In these countries, more than 75% of the population live below the poverty line.

Here’s a look at the 10 countries with the lowest GDP per capita:

gdp per capita bottom 10 countries

Life in these countries offers a stark contrast compared to the top 10. Here’s a glance at the quality of life in the poorest country, Burundi:

  • 80% of the population works in agriculture
  • 1 in 3 Burundians are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance
  • Average households spend up to two-thirds of their income on food

However, many of the world’s poorest countries can also be classified as emerging markets with immense economic potential in the future.

In fact, China has seen the opportunity in emerging economies. Their confidence in these regions is best exemplified in the Belt and Road initiative which has funneled massive investments into infrastructure projects across multiple African countries.

Continually Raising the Bar

Prosperity is a very recent reality only characterizing the last couple hundred years. In pre-modern societies, the average person was living in conditions that would be considered extreme poverty by today’s standards.

Overall, the standard of living for everyone today is immensely improved compared to even recent history, and some countries will be experiencing rapid economic growth in the future.

GDP per Capita in 2021: Full Dataset

CountryGDP per Capita (Nominal, 2021, USD)
🇱🇺 Luxembourg$125,923
🇮🇪 Ireland$90,478
🇨🇭 Switzerland$90,358
🇳🇴 Norway$76,408
🇺🇸 United States$66,144
🇩🇰 Denmark$63,645
🇸🇬 Singapore$62,113
🇮🇸 Iceland$58,371
🇳🇱 Netherlands$58,029
🇸🇪 Sweden$57,660
Australia$57,211
Qatar$55,417
Austria$54,820
Finland$54,817
Germany$51,967
Belgium$50,051
Macao SAR$48,207
Hong Kong SAR$47,990
Canada$45,871
France$44,770
San Marino$44,676
Israel$43,439
United Kingdom$42,236
New Zealand$41,793
Japan$40,733
Italy$35,062
United Arab Emirates$32,686
South Korea$32,305
Malta$32,099
The Bahamas$31,532
Puerto Rico$31,207
Spain$31,178
Europe$31,022
Cyprus$29,686
Taiwan $28,890
Slovenia$28,734
Estonia$26,378
Brunei $26,274
Czech Republic$25,991
Portugal$25,097
Bahrain$23,710
Kuwait$23,138
Lithuania$22,752
Aruba$22,710
Slovakia$21,606
Saudi Arabia$20,742
Greece$20,521
Latvia$19,934
Hungary$17,645
Barbados$17,472
Poland$16,740
Trinidad and Tobago$16,622
Saint Kitts and Nevis$16,491
Croatia$16,402
Uruguay$16,297
Romania$14,916
Antigua and Barbuda$14,748
Oman$14,675
Panama$14,390
Chile$14,209
Maldives$14,194
Palau$13,180
Seychelles$12,648
Costa Rica$11,805
China$11,713
Malaysia$11,378
Bulgaria$11,349
Russia$10,793
Saint Lucia$10,636
Grenada$10,211
Guyana$9,913
Nauru$9,865
Mauritius$9,630
Kazakhstan$9,454
Montenegro$9,152
Argentina$9,095
Turkmenistan$8,874
Serbia$8,444
Mexico$8,403
Dominica$8,111
Equatorial Guinea$8,000
Gabon$7,785
Dominican Republic$7,740
Thailand$7,675
Iran$7,668
Turkey$7,659
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines$7,401
Botswana$7,036
North Macedonia $6,933
Brazil$6,728
Bosnia and Herzegovina$6,536
Belarus$6,513
Peru$6,229
Jamaica$5,643
Ecuador$5,589
Colombia$5,457
South Africa$5,236
Paraguay$5,207
Albania$5,161
Tonga$4,949
Suriname$4,921
Fiji$4,822
Iraq$4,767
Kosovo$4,753
Libya$4,733
Georgia$4,714
Moldova$4,527
Armenia$4,427
Namibia$4,412
Azerbaijan$4,404
Guatemala$4,385
Jordan$4,347
Tuvalu$4,296
Indonesia$4,287
Mongolia$4,139
Marshall Islands$4,092
Samoa$4,053
El Salvador$4,023
Micronesia$3,995
Belize$3,968
Sri Lanka$3,928
Vietnam$3,759
Eswatini$3,697
Cabo Verde$3,675
Bolivia$3,618
Ukraine$3,615
Egypt$3,606
Philippines$3,602
North Africa$3,560
Algeria$3,449
Bhutan$3,447
Morocco$3,409
Tunisia$3,380
Djibouti$3,275
West Bank and Gaza$3,060
Vanuatu$2,967
Laos$2,614
Papua New Guinea$2,596
Honduras$2,593
Côte d'Ivoire$2,571
Solomon Islands$2,501
Ghana$2,300
Republic of Congo$2,271
Nigeria$2,209
São Tomé and Príncipe$2,133
Angola$2,130
Kenya$2,122
India$2,031
Bangladesh$1,990
Uzbekistan$1,836
Nicaragua$1,828
Kiribati$1,817
Mauritania$1,782
Cambodia$1,680
Cameroon$1,657
Senegal$1,629
Venezuela$1,586
Myanmar$1,441
Comoros$1,431
Benin$1,400
Timor-Leste$1,273
Kyrgyzstan$1,270
Nepal$1,166
Tanzania$1,132
Guinea$1,067
Lesotho$1,018
Zambia$1,006
Mali$992
Uganda$971
Ethiopia$918
Tajikistan$851
Burkina Faso$851
Guinea-Bissau$844
Rwanda$820
The Gambia$809
Togo$759
Sudan$714
Chad$710
Haiti$698
Liberia$646
Eritrea$632
Yemen$573
Niger$567
Madagascar$554
Central African Republic$522
Zimbabwe$516
Afghanistan$506
Democratic Republic of the Congo$478
Sierra Leone$471
Mozambique$431
Malawi$397
South Sudan$323
Burundi$267

Editor’s note: Readers have rightly pointed out that Monaco is one of the world’s richest countries in GDP per capita (nominal) terms. This is true, but the IMF dataset excludes Monaco and lists it as “No data” each year. As a result, it is excluded from the visualization(s) above.

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Technology

Ranked: The Most Innovative Companies in 2021

In today’s fast-paced market, companies have to be innovative constantly. Here’s a look at the top 50 most innovative companies in 2021.

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Most Innovative Companies 2021

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:

 CompanyIndustryHQChange from 2020
1AppleTechnology🇺🇸 U.S.--
2AlphabetTechnology🇺🇸 U.S.--
3AmazonConsumer Goods🇺🇸 U.S.--
4MicrosoftTechnology🇺🇸 U.S.--
5TeslaTransport & Energy🇺🇸 U.S.+6
6SamsungTechnology🇰🇷 South Korea-1
7IBMTechnology🇺🇸 U.S.+1
8HuaweiTechnology🇨🇳 China-2
9SonyConsumer Goods🇯🇵 Japan--
10PfizerHealthcare🇺🇸 U.S.Return
11SiemensTechnology🇩🇪 Germany+10
12LG ElectronicsConsumer Goods🇰🇷 South Korea+6
13FacebookTechnology🇺🇸 U.S.-3
14AlibabaConsumer Goods🇨🇳 China-7
15OracleTechnology🇺🇸 U.S.+10
16DellTechnology🇺🇸 U.S.+4
17Cisco SystemsTechnology🇺🇸 U.S.-5
18TargetConsumer Goods🇺🇸 U.S.+4
19HP Inc.Technology🇺🇸 U.S.-4
20Johnson & JohnsonHealthcare🇺🇸 U.S.+6
21ToyotaTransport & Energy🇯🇵 Japan+20
22SalesforceTechnology🇺🇸 U.S.+13
23WalmartConsumer Goods🇺🇸 U.S.-10
24NikeConsumer Goods🇺🇸 U.S.-8
25LenovoTechnology🇭🇰 Hong Kong SARReturn
26TencentConsumer Goods🇨🇳 China-12
27Procter & GambleConsumer Goods🇺🇸 U.S.+12
28Coca-ColaConsumer Goods🇺🇸 U.S.+20
29Abbott LabsHealthcare🇺🇸 U.S.New
30BoschTransport & Energy🇩🇪 Germany+3
31XiaomiTechnology🇨🇳 China-7
32IkeaConsumer Goods🇳🇱 NetherlandsReturn
33Fast RetailingConsumer Goods🇯🇵 JapanReturn
34AdidasConsumer Goods🇩🇪 GermanyReturn
35Merck & Co.Healthcare🇺🇸 U.S.Return
36NovartisHealthcare🇨🇭 Switzerland+11
37EbayConsumer Goods🇺🇸 U.S.Return
38PepsiCoConsumer Goods🇺🇸 U.S.Return
39HyundaiTransport & Energy🇰🇷 South KoreaReturn
40SAPTechnology🇩🇪 Germany-13
41InditexConsumer Goods🇪🇸 SpainReturn
42ModernaHealthcare🇺🇸 U.S.New
43PhilipsHealthcare🇳🇱 Netherlands-20
44DisneyMedia & Telecomms🇺🇸 U.S.Return
45MitsubishiTransport & Energy🇯🇵 JapanNew
46ComcastMedia & Telecomms🇺🇸 U.S.New
47GETransport & Energy🇺🇸 U.S.Return
48RocheHealthcare🇨🇭 SwitzerlandReturn
49AstraZenecaHealthcare🇬🇧 UKNew
50BayerHealthcare🇩🇪 Germany-12

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.

Most Innovative Companies 2021

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.

Scaling 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.

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