Technology giants have maintained their position atop Boston Consulting Groups’s most innovative companies list. Apple, Google and Microsoft take the top three spots respectively, with Amazon and Samsung rounding out the top five.

Digital natives crowd the top of the 2018 rankings, holding seven of the top 10 spots. But they took only 11 of the top 50 spots.

Two companies lost their top 10 status from 2017 – Netflix fell from 6th to 13th, and Toyota dropped from 8th to 17th.

The new entrants in the top ten were Uber at 9th, up from 17th in 2017, and Alibaba debuting on the list. Tencent is also new to the list at 20th, capping a strong year for Chinese tech companies.

Airbnb, SpaceX, Cisco Systems, Orange, and Marriott moved up significantly from last year. In total, 12 companies either joined the list or returned to it in 2018.

The list is based on a survey of over 1,000 senior innovation leaders across several industries and regions. The results are presented in the BCG report, The Most Innovative Companies 2018: Innovators Go All In on Digital.

Innovation Gap

According to the report, leading innovators were leveraging digital technology and creating an innovation gap, which could widen.

Leaders had prioritised digital innovation, invested strongly in digital technology, embraced agile product development and ensured cross functional teams worked together in one place – all key differentiators for innovation, the report said.

BCG senior partner and report co-author, Michael Ringel, said digital innovation laggards “risk being left behind” as the innovation gap widens.

“Competitive advantage increasingly depends less on products and more on the digitally enabled services that surround them. From today’s predictive maintenance offerings for industrial goods to tomorrow’s Internet of Things, digital strategists need to explore and master new innovation domains,” Ringel said.

“And as more advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, enter the mainstream, the stakes will keep getting higher.”

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