Big Ideas From Innovation Leaders That Will Jumpstart Your Innovative Engines

Want to make your company more innovative? Then emulate the characteristics of top innovative companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM and more. That’s the consensus of The Most Innovative Companies 2014: Breaking Through Is Hard to Do, a Boston Consulting Group study.

These and the rest of the top 50 focus on gleaning insight from Big Data. They analyze both structured data, including information pulled from their customer databases, as well as unstructured data from social media sites, Internet blogs and other sources, to determine what customers and prospects really want. They then launch products and services to specifically meet those needs. And their strategy has been working.

“At top innovators, innovation is constantly communicated by the CEO and all management.”

A prime example is Amazon. By analyzing its 150 million-plus customer database—“one of the biggest and most valuable databases of consumer information,” the company successfully rolls out new products and services “with almost frightening speed,” the report authors write. Notable products and services include the Kindle e-reader, Kindle Fire tablet, the Amazon Fire Phone, Amazon Prime, AmazonFresh, and Subscribe & Save.

Other characteristics of top innovators, according to BCG: they have strong innovative cultures and processes; they cast a wider net for ideas; innovation is constantly communicated by the CEO and all management; and it’s top of mind on employee performance reviews for bonuses and other rewards.

Such companies also have strong processes that strive for speed and both embrace and manage failure—leading to strong performance, strong corporate governance and a dedicated budget for venturing and testing concepts. 
They also constantly measure the impact of ventures, using metrics that tie back to the bottom line.

The firms that made Fast Company’s list of the 50 Most Innovative Companies—which includes Google, Dropbox and Airbnb—expect exceptionalism from their workers. Also, “making money matters.”

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