Some Insights on the World’s Most Innovative Companies and their Defining Characteristics

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Abstract

As time went by, innovations have not only accompanied, but also shaped the evolution of humankind, while being its loyal source of progress; and they have played the same leading role at organizational (firm/company) level – although, if moving beyond the cumulative (global) outputs, a thorough (unit based) analysis would reveal that (the same) innovations have always distinguished between first movers and followers, innovators and imitators, winners and losers. Thus, the most innovative companies have had the opportunity of capitalizing on their realized innovation potential as industry innovation leaders, while the other companies have had to search for other types of strategic positioning in order to be competitive. But realities and trends are quite different nowadays – the unprecedented (time-related) pace and (space-related) diffusion rate that characterize innovations ask for companies to fundamentally change their approach on innovation: under the new circumstances, innovation can no longer be an option (but a perennial must – a marathon, not a sprint) and each company has to become (to a certain degree) an innovative company – in order to survive. Against this background, the paper aims to: (a). provide an outline of the main categories/topics the literature on organizational innovation deal with; (b). identify the profile and main characteristics of innovative companies; (c). compare and contrast two globally recognized rankings of the most innovative companies (BCG & PwC) in terms of companies’ characteristics.

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