BusinessWeek’s 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2009: #1 Apple – again

With the sudden reversal of the global economy, businesses are struggling not only with shrinking income and budgets, but also with seismic shifts that are upending entire industries, from autos and retail to banking and entertainment. These same forces are apparent in our latest ranking of the Most Innovative Companies. While the 2009 list includes some stalwarts in their usual top positions—namely Apple and Google—15 newcomers have joined the lineup, the biggest change since BusinessWeek and Boston Consulting Group first partnered on this proprietary survey in 2005. These include more companies headquartered outside the U.S. than in the past, such as Volkswagen, Infosys, and Telefónica.

BusinessWeek’s 2009 ranking of the World’s 25 Most Innovative Companies is based mostly on a Boston Consulting Group survey. In December 2008, BCG sent its 20-question poll to senior executives around the globe. The 2,700 respondents, who answered anonymously, were asked to name corporations that consistently offer inventive products, customer experiences, business models, or processes. The votes of executives who chose their own employers were disqualified.

BCG then factored in the financial performance of the top vote-getters. The final list weighted the survey results 80%, stock returns 10%, and three-year revenue and margin growth 5% each. In the case of privately held companies, BusinessWeek used metrics equal to industry performance to compare financial data.

Apple (AAPL) again tops the roster, as it has since BusinessWeek and BCG presented the first list in 2005, but there was plenty of movement below. There are six newcomers to the top 25—Samsung (No. 16), Volkswagen (No. 18), McDonald’s (MCD) (No. 19), AT&T (T) (No. 23), Coca-Cola (KO) (No. 24), and Vodafone (VOD) (No. 25). They replaced General Motors (GM), Boeing (BA), Goldman Sachs (GS), 3M (MMM), Target (TGT), and Facebook.

The extended list of the top 50 includes new members from Asia and Europe as well, including India’s Infosys (INFY) (No. 26), LG of South Korea (No. 27), Spain’s Telefónica (No. 28), and Lenovo of China (No. 46).

BusinessWeek’s Top 10 of their 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2009:

1. Apple
2. Google
3. Toyota
4. Microsoft (PC World said it best back in 2005: Microsoft innovation – an oxymoron)
5. Nintendo
6. IBM
7. Hewlett-Packard
8. Research In Motion
9. Nokia
10. Wal-Mart

Full list here.

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft, RIM, and Nokia. Innovation in the practice of poorly following Apple?

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