The American Innovation Index

Innovation Explodes in 2020

August 4, 2020 – In a world shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic and the social justice movement, business innovation and social innovation have emerged as important priorities for American business.  Against this backdrop, Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, along with the Norwegian School of Economics, and market research firm Illuminas, announced the top innovators from the American Innovation Index™ (Aii), the only survey in the US measuring company innovativeness based on customers’ experiences.

The survey found that company innovativeness has increased a record 5 points on average across U.S. companies in 19 industries since last year.  Following #1 Ikea, #2 Apple, and #3 Trader Joe’s, are long-time manufacturers, John Deere at #4 and Weber in 5th place on customer-perceived innovation, which is higher than tech giants Netflix (#8),  Microsoft (#9), and Amazon (#10).

The top 20 Aii leaders will receive awards at the 3rd annual American Innovation Conference hosted by Fordham University on November 16, 2020, and include:  Ikea, Apple, Trader Joe’s, John Deere, Weber, Toyota, Ford, Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon, Nissan, Samsung, Sherwin Williams, General Motors, USAA, Stanley Black and Decker, General Electric (GE), Adobe, Airbnb, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Charles Schwab.

“The pandemic has challenged companies to adapt their business models at a faster rate than in normal times,” said Lerzan Aksoy, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business.  “The American Innovation Index recognizes the companies with the highest innovation index scores based on customer ratings.  The results show that customers are noticing the speed of innovation by top companies in response to these turbulent times.”

“The same is true when we look at the Social Innovation Index™ (Sii).  Customers have noticed the efforts of top companies to innovate for the benefit of society in light of the pandemic, social justice movement, and tougher economic times,” said Gina Woodall, VP of Client Services and Group Director, Illuminas.  Companies ranked highest on the Sii, #1 Ikea, #2 Toyota, and #3 John Deere, are also leaders in business innovation overall.  Other notable companies in the top 20 on the Sii are #8 Bridgestone Tire, #12 JetBlue, #13 JP Morgan, and #15 Costco.

About the American Innovation Index:

The Aii scores and ranks the innovativeness of U.S. companies based on their customers’ experiences. The 3rd annual study was conducted in July 2020, and covers 173 firms from 19 industries, such as airlines, hotels, car rental companies, banks, TV and Internet service providers, wireless phone providers, manufacturers, and retailers. The study surveyed 4,951 consumers and covered over 23,000 customer-company relationships. To date, no large scale, scientifically vetted measure of customer-perceived innovation exists in the United States.

For more information about the Aii and a full list of company rankings, visit

About Fordham University:

Fordham University offers exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition across nine schools. Fordham awards baccalaureate, graduate, and professional degrees to approximately 15,000 students.

About the Norwegian School of Economics:

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

About Illuminas:

Illuminas is a strategic research consultancy that has been advising  Fortune 500s, mid-sized firms and non-profits on their innovation and marketing strategy for over two decades.