The purpose of this paper is to develop a meta-ranking of the world’s most innovative firms, which underscores the importance of external perceptions of innovativeness and of an innovation-based view on firm performance, including product, service, process, business model, management and organizational innovation.
This is an exploratory empirical paper, which integrates the results of five rankings of the world’s most innovative companies.
The five innovation rankings include a variety of companies based on different methods and strategic focus. This variety underscores the importance of a meta-ranking, whose multiple aggregation methods lead to consistent results. Only the following 11 companies are mentioned in at least three rankings, leading to a list of the 11 most innovative companies in the world: Amazon, Apple, Tencent, Google/Alphabet, Netflix, SpaceX, Tesla, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and General Electric. Overall, the meta-ranking is dominated by US companies from various industries with firms from China gaining importance.
The paper contributes to research into innovation antecedents and consequences by illustrating the importance of innovation perceptions. The meta-ranking highlights the need for pursuing different types of innovation, following the innovation-based view on firm performance with first-order and second-order innovations. Moreover, the results deepen our understanding of digital transformation and of capturing value from innovation in the digital economy because a considerable portion of the leading innovators has a business model emphasizing artificial intelligence and digital platforms, which have led to the generation of new and to the disruption of established markets.
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