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Gabelli School of Business & Rockbridge Associates Announce Top Innovators from the 2022 American Innovation Index™

Undergraduate | Oct 06, 2022 |

On October 6, 2022, the top innovators from the 2022 American Innovation Index™ (Aii) were announced by the Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business’ Responsible Business Coalition (RBC) and market research firm Rockbridge Associates, Inc. The Aii is the only survey in the US that measures company innovativeness based upon customers’ experiences. This year, the index revealed that American business innovation climbed to a 5-year high.

The Top 25 leaders on the American Innovation Index™ will receive awards at the 5th annual American Innovation Conference, hosted by the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business on November 15, 2022. They include: Apple, Toyota, Ikea, Nike, John Deere, Louis Vuitton, Weber, Honda, Ford, GE, Samsung, Airbnb, Michael Kors, Chime, Trader Joe’s, General Motors, Stanley Black and Decker, Microsoft, Amazon, Goodyear, Polo Ralph Lauren, Spotify, Nissan, Aflac, Bridgestone Tire, and Quicken Loans.

The last five years have been turbulent times for America, as companies were required to re-think their business models and meet ever-changing consumer needs and priorities. After a dramatic surge during the height of the pandemic, the Aii rose 5.6 points from 2018-2022. Companies with the biggest gains in company innovativeness over the past 5 years include:

● Ahold, +20.6 points
● United Airlines, +15.2 points
● Ross Stores, +13.7 points
● American Family Insurance, +12.0 points
● Office Depot, +11.9 points
● Macys, +11.5 points
● Aetna, +11.2 points
● Albertsons, +11.2 points
● Gap Inc., +11.1 points
● AT&T, +10.5 points
● Expedia, +10.2 points
● Delta Airlines, +10.1 points

The researchers at Fordham University and Rockbridge Associates have proven that a focus on innovation that benefits the customer, directly links to higher stock returns for the companies that make this commitment. Companies with higher innovation scores on the American Innovation Index are rewarded with higher loyalty, ultimately leading to greater financial success. Customer loyalty did not experience a dramatic jump over the past five years, but is up an average of 3.7 points, showing that innovation that benefits the customer does pay off.

“Top companies understand the effect of innovation on customer loyalty, and our research has proven it. Companies that invest in customer-focused innovation are more financially successful, but it does take time for them to reap the rewards of higher loyalty,” said Lerzan Aksoy, Ph.D., professor of marketing at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business.

Not all U.S. companies have been recognized for a commitment to innovation by their customers over the past 5 years. Some have declined on the Aii, including Netflix (-2.9 points), Choice Hotels (-2.7 points), Southwest Airlines (-2.5 points) and Dish Network (-2.3 points). Facebook, Amazon and USAA also lost at least one point.

Social Innovation

Social Innovation among American businesses has also experienced a sizable increase during the past 5 years, likely due in part to the pandemic, social justice movement, and climate crisis, as well as the rise in focus on Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) by American companies. The Social Innovation Index (Sii) measures company innovation that benefits society and the environment based on the experiences of customers, and has risen 5.9 points over the past 5 years. Companies that increased the most in Social Innovation include:

● Ahold (Grocery), +16.9 points
● American Family Insurance, +15.8 points
● United Airlines, +15.2 points
● Navient, +14.5 points
● Gap Inc., +14.2 points
● Alaska Airlines, +14.1 points
● Dunkin’, +13.4 points
● Ross Stores, +13.2 points
● McDonalds, +12.3 points

“Customers have noticed the efforts of top companies to innovate for the greater good, and our research has proven that it matters to them. They reward companies with a focus on social innovation with higher loyalty, and this in turn, is reflected in the bottom line,” said Gina Woodall, president of Rockbridge.

Companies ranked highest on the Sii are #1 Toyota, #2 John Deere, and #3 Ikea which are also leaders in company innovation. Other rankings include financial services companies, #4 Loan Depot and #9 SoFi, as well as automakers including #5 Nissan, #6 Ford, #7 Honda, and #8 General Motors, and #10 GE.

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