June 28, 2018 –  Rockbridge Associates, Inc., along with Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business and the Norwegian School of Economics, announced the launch of the American Innovation Index™ (Aii), the first ever survey in the US measuring company innovativeness based on customers’ experiences doing business with them.

Conducted in May 2018, the survey found Apple was the most innovative company. However, Apple and Netflix are the only companies in the technology industry to make the top 10 list of most innovative companies from among more than 150 of America’s largest consumer-focused companies across 20 industries measured in the survey.  Other major tech players fall short; Google (19th), Facebook (56th), Twitter (63rd), and LinkedIn (88th) are not as innovative according to their customers.

The top 10 leaders on the American Innovation Index™ are: Apple, Amazon, Ikea, Toyota, Netflix, Honda, John Deere, Southwest Airlines, Airbnb, and Samsung.

The Aii scores and ranks the innovativeness of U.S. companies based on their customers perceptions. The Aii covers nearly 200 firms from a range of industries, such as airlines, hotels, banks, TV and Internet service providers, wireless phone providers, manufacturers, retailers and utilities. Visit the Aii site to learn more and see top performers in your industry.

Why Does Innovation Matter?

While other rankings rely upon economic indicators such as patent activity, productivity, and R&D spending or self-reports by managers or experts, they neglect the experiences and opinions of innovation recipients, i.e. customers. Ironically, it is customers’ adoption and usage decisions that determine the success of new products and ultimately of innovators themselves. To date, no large scale, scientifically vetted measure of customer-perceived innovation exists in the United States. The Aii was created to address this glaring need in the US market.

“Our point of departure from other innovation indices is the view that customers—not managers or experts—are the best judges of innovation,” said Lerzan Aksoy, Ph.D., professor of marketing at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business. “In essence, a managerial decision to allocate resources to innovate a company’s products or services affects customers’ perceptions of the firm’s innovativeness. Firms that customers perceive as more innovative become more attractive than their competitors and as a result are preferred by more customers. By making investments in areas that appeal to customers, managers can build customer loyalty, thereby increasing firm value.”

The American Innovation Index (Aii) rests on two assumptions:

  1. Countries cannot be innovative—companies can
  2. Leaders and experts are not the final judges of innovations—customers are

According to these assumptions, the Aii is a measure of customers’ perceptions of how innovative American companies are.  Moreover, the Aii examines the impact of companies’ perceived innovativeness on their relative attractiveness in the market and on their customers’ loyalty levels.

“Innovation matters to customers because it drives loyalty,” said Gina Woodall, President of Rockbridge.  “We surveyed over 7,000 U.S. consumers covering more than 30,000 customer touchpoints.  As expected, technology firms ranked high in innovativeness, but we were surprised to find the tech sector behind automotive firms and manufacturers of big ticket items.”

The Social Innovation Index

The Aii also measures social innovation through the Social Innovation Index™ (Sii), which is the degree to which customers of companies perceive them to innovate in ways that benefit society and the environment. Four of the top 10 most innovative companies on the Aii are also in the top 10 on social innovation according to customers, including John Deere, Toyota, Honda and Ikea.  Other top social innovators include Ford, USAA, Chick-fil-a, Nissan, Chrysler and GM.

 Another key finding from the Aii is that firms in the technology industry do not rank as high on social innovation, which affects their customer loyalty and future success of their businesses. If technology firms were to learn anything from other industries, it would be to focus on social innovation as well as innovating in how they do business.

For more information about the Aii, visit www.AmericanInnovationIndex.com.

About Rockbridge Associates, Inc.:

Rockbridge Associates, Inc. is an outcome-based market research firm that has been advising  Fortune 500s, mid-sized firms and non-profits on their innovation and marketing strategy for over two decades.

About Fordham University:

Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition across nine schools. Fordham awards baccalaureate, graduate, and professional degrees to approximately 15,000 students from Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham College at Lincoln Center, the Gabelli School of Business (undergraduate and graduate), the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, the Graduate Schools of Arts and Sciences, Education, Religion and Religious Education, and Social Service, and the School of Law. The University has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in West Harrison, N.Y., the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y., and the London Centre in the United Kingdom.

About the Norwegian School of Economics:

NHH Norwegian School of Economics is one of the leading business schools in Europe.  They launched the Norwegian Innovation Index in 2016 and partnered with Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business and Rockbridge to replicate their methodology in the US.