Technology giant Apple topped the chart, followed by Google, Samsung, Microsoft and IBM as the most innovative companies globally in the list of the global management consulting firm. TCS secured the 43rd position in the list. Apart from telecom and technology firms, car makers Tesla Motors, Toyota and BMW as well as firms like Nike, Shell, Airbus and McDonald's also featured among the top 50.

BCG has surveyed more than 1,500 senior executives in a wide range of countries and industries since 2004 to help cast light on the state of innovation in global business. The report examined the factors that separate breakthrough innovators from other companies. It found that breakthrough innovators are strong innovators first they excel at the fundamentals that define successful innovation programmes. They also cast a wider net for ideas, use business model innovation more and they have cultures geared toward breakthrough success, it added.

Almost half of breakthrough innovators reported generating more than 30 per cent of sales from innovations over the past three years, more than twice the average for all companies, it said. BCG asked respondents to name up-and-coming companies that are still relatively young or have yet to reach the scale of the top 50 global giants but are making themselves known for innovation. Companies like WhatsApp, Square, Rakuten and Wipro lead this list.

"Innovation isn't getting any easier. Too many companies want to shoot for the moon while their innovation programmes are barely airborne. It is no longer enough to be good at incremental innovation," BCG Senior Partner and Director Neeraj Aggarwal said.

Breakthrough innovators are especially effective at bringing together the pieces required for radical innovation such as management, governance and organisational design that can have a major impact on any company's innovation programme, he added. The survey found only 13 per cent respondents saying they have a significant ambition to deliver radical innovation.

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