The 100 Top Innovators: A Spotlight on Health

By Gillian Christie

Innovation is often heralded as the lifeblood of business: if you can’t innovate, you can’t be great. Influential innovation paradigms – such as reverse and frugal innovation – have bled through pages of business school texts and peer-reviewed journals alike. Countries are categorized on their ability to innovate, while governments implement policies in the hopes of fostering innovation. Walter Isaacson’s famed book “Innovators even examined the role of innovation simply in one discipline: computer science.

The September 2015 edition of Forbes was the most recent publication to unveil their take on the 100 most innovative companies worldwide. The selection is based on investors’ ability to identify companies they believe will be innovative today and tomorrow using a metric called the “Innovation Premium”. Three American companies topped the list: Tesla,, and Alexion Pharma. The Forbes commentary suggested that: “Elon Musk has inherited Steve Jobs’ mantle as the cult favorite CEO. And his electric car company has grabbed Apple’s creative crown.”

Despite Tesla’s supposed overthrow of Apple as the top innovator, a staggering 28 of the top 100 most innovative companies impact health (see list below). Healthcare companies pioneering lifesaving drugs or pharmacy benefits were accompanied by companies promoting health by manufacturing high-end sporting apparel and creating healthy packaged foods. Biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices stand alongside brewers and baristas. The other 72 companies range in areas of focus from software and data processing services to online travel and luxury goods.

Companies making markets work for health are increasingly outpacing those that do not. They are modifying their product portfolios to offer healthier alternatives to fulfill consumer demands. The public announcement by CVS Health to discontinue the sale of tobacco products in its retail locations is one clear example: since February 2014, CVS Health’s stock price has risen. Another example is Vitality’s parent company, Discovery, who has pioneered shared value insurance was named earlier this year by Fortune Magazine as #17 on its list of 51 companies that change the world. But not all companies realize or embrace this: some continue to aspire to sell more cans of sugary soda.


Does innovation in health affect your perception – or investment in – any given company? How is YOUR company innovating to improve health? We would love to hear from you! Tweet @VitalityUSA or @gchristie34 or leave a comment below.


Forbes: The Top 100 Innovators in Health

Ranking Company Name Industry Location
3 Alexion Pharma Biotechnology Cheshire, CT
4 Regeneron Pharma Biotechnology Tarrytown, NY
7 Incyte Biotechnology Wilmington, DE
9 Under Armour Apparel Baltimore, MD
10 Biomarin Pharma Biotechnology San Rafael, CA
12 Aspen Pharma Pharmaceuticals Durban, South Africa
13 Monster Beverage Soft Drinks Corona, CA
14 Vertex Pharma Pharmaceuticals Cambridge, MA
30 Mead Johnson Nutrition Packaged Foods Glenview, IL
31 Valeant Pharma Pharmaceuticals Montreal, Canada
33 Coloplast Medical Devices Humlebæk, Denmark
34 Cerner Health Software Kansas City, MO
35 Illumina Life Sciences Tools San Diego, CA
40 Perrigo Pharmaceuticals Dublin, Ireland
43 Keurig Green Mountain Packaged Foods Waterbury, VT
45 Starbucks Coffee Shops Seattle, WA
50 Whole Foods Market Retailing Austin, TX
58 Ambev Brewers Sao Paulo, Brazil
59 Novozymes Specialty Chemicals Bagsværd, Denmark
62 Essilor Medical Equipment Charenton-le-Pont, France
65 Luxottica Group Eyewear Milan, Italy
66 Express Scripts Health Care Services St. Louis, MO
72 Sonova Health Care Equipment Stäfa, Switzerland
78 Dairy Farm Intl Food Retail Hong Kong, China
79 Equinox Data Centers New York, NY
84 Estee Lauder Personal Products New York, NY
87 Intuitive Surgical Health Care Equipment Sunnyvale, CA
92 Grifols Health Care Supplies Barcelona, Spain


Thumbnail image credit: The World of DTC Marketing

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