Hello there, it’s Howard, and I lead the Center for Future Readiness at IMD Business School in Switzerland. We’ve recently unveiled our latest ranking of the world’s foremost finance, automotive, and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, highlighting their readiness to confront the challenges of tomorrow.
Tesla is leading its pack, followed by the Chinese outfit, BYD, and then VW. Toyota has been playing it too safe. It’s cost them – they’re outside the top five for the first time in a decade.
You see, being ready for the future isn’t merely a resilience strategy for times of crisis. Rather, it’s an essential capability that enables businesses to seize new growth opportunities once things return to normal.
What do we mean when we talk about investing in the future? It’s like planting a tree. You need more than just healthy soil (strong cash flow and profit margins). You need a diverse array of seeds (a varied board of directors) ready to embrace the winds of change. It’s crucial to water it with R&D and to cherish the budding fruits of innovation in the form of new products or services. All these elements are instrumental in setting the stage for investor expectations, and the size of the fruits harvested (share price performance) are a reward for these expectations.
Our ranking, recurring twice-yearly like clockwork, employs a methodology that leans on a balanced scorecard rooted in hard data. It is aided by an AI-powered text analytics tool, a cyber sleuth providing insights into companies’ behaviors by scouring reports and articles from 70 news sources spanning a decade.
Our data comes from various sources, such as financial reports, investors’ calls, the LinkedIn profiles of management teams, Crunchbase, Espacenet, Sustainalytics, Google Trends and Factiva. We only use hard data in an attempt to avoid survey biases.
In the CPG industry, Coca-Cola, P&G, and L’Oréal came out on top. They’re using AI to innovate and keep customers interested. The ones falling behind are sticking to the old ways, resulting in stagnant offerings and unnecessary complexities.
In the finance sector, Mastercard, Visa, and JPMorgan held dominion, their expert integration of financial services into apps and digital wallets paying off. On the other end of the spectrum, firms that hesitated to welcome digital transformation found themselves grappling to meet evolving customer expectations.
Tesla came out on top because they’re making more money and more profit, even with more competition. BYD is next because they can produce both batteries and microchips – they don’t need anyone else. VW’s aggressive approach to battery-run electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles has paid off.
We looked at 68 companies for this ranking. We rated them on their financials, what investors expect from them, how diverse they are in their business and employees, their research and development, their early innovation results, and their cash and debt. You can watch my latest CNBC in-studio interview.
Whether you’re an investor, a business leader, or an interested observer, keep a keen eye on these trends and companies. In the rapidly evolving landscape of global business, the ones who anticipate change, embrace innovation, and prepare for tomorrow’s challenges today will be the ones who lead the pack.
Thanks for reading and stay well,