IDSA’s Most Innovative Tech Brands of 2016

Founded in 1965, the nonprofit Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) is one of the oldest and largest membership associations for industrial design professionals.

IDSA has thousands of members in dozens of Student Chapters, Professional Chapters and Special Interest Sections in the United States and internationally. IDSA sponsors the annual International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), the world’s most prestigious and rigorous design competition. The Society hosts a multitude of events including an annual International Design Conference.

They also host an annual survey of “consumer perceptions of innovative tech brands.” The survey found that expectations for innovation have skyrocketed 33 percent in only one year.

The survey conducted by a brand loyalty and emotional engagement research consultancy, also found 30 percent of the top 20 brands are new to the 2016 list—but big names in innovation, including past and present IDEA winners, still make their mark.

You may be surprised what consumers see as being “innovative” these days.

These are the results from the pool of 4,000 consumers asked to name companies and brands they feel are leaders in technological innovation (the numbers in parentheses indicate movement up or down the list from last year; names in bold indicate new consumer mentions for 2016):

  1. Google (+1)
  2. Amazon (+2)
  3. Facebook (+4)
  4. Apple (-3)
  5. Samsung (-2)
  6. Netflix (–)
  7. HBO (-2)
  8. YouTube (+1)
  9. Airbnb
  10. IBM (+2)
  11. Snapchat
  12. Line (+8)
  13. Shutterfly
  14. BuzzFeed
  15. ClassPass (no-contract, plan-customizable, fitness company)
  16. Intel (+3)
  17. theSkimm (email-based news delivery service)
  18. Microsoft (-7)
  19. SoundCloud (-11)
  20. Tesla (-3)

 

The biggest movement up the list was seen for Line, an app for instant communication on electronic devices. Companies that moved down the innovation list included SoundCloud, the online audio distribution platform, and Microsoft.

It’s clear that what consumers consider “innovation” has a variety of forms; new forms of social outreach and connectivity also are seen as innovative these days.

“With such high consumer expectations companies like Uber—that once were considered innovative—spawned enough ‘me-to’ competitors to make them seem less innovative. Or companies that have been around for a while, like LinkedIn, have come to feel conventional, and that erodes the perception of innovation,” according to Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president.

 

From a marketing perspective innovation is change that increases emotional engagement and unlocks consumer value, so it’s something brands must focus on. “It’s hard to conceive that there was a time when consumers feared technological innovation,” he adds. “They equated innovation and technology with a greater likelihood of something to go wrong.”

BUT NOT ANYMORE. Innovation requires change–so, what’s next in line to change the dynamics of the marketplace? History in the making.

Here’s a list of last year’s top 20 most innovative brands as ranked by IDSA.

  1. Apple
  2. Google
  3. Tesla Motors
  4. Microsoft
  5. Samsung Group
  6. Toyota
  7. BMW
  8. Gilead Sciences
  9. Amazon
  10. Daimler
  11. Bayer
  12. Tencent
  13. IBM
  14. SoftBank
  15. Fast Retailing
  16. Yahoo!
  17. Biogen
  18. The Walt Disney Company
  19. Marriot International
  20. Johnson&Johnson
  21. *Netflix

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