The American Innovation Index

Innovation Pays Off During the Pandemic

September 21, 2021

Apple, Samsung and Weber Ranked as America’s Most Innovative Companies

With the world still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, American business focused on innovation and social innovation to succeed in these uncertain times.  The top innovators from the 2021 American Innovation Index™ (Aii) have been announced by Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business’ Responsible Business Coalition, along with the Norwegian School of Economics, and market research firm Illuminas  The Aii is the only survey in the US measuring company innovativeness based on customers’ experiences.

After a dramatic 5 point average increase in company innovativeness during the height of the pandemic, the index has increased another 1.2 points on average across U.S. companies in 20 industries since last year.  Following #1 Apple, #2 Samsung, and #3 Weber, are auto manufacturers, Ford and Toyota tied for 4th place, and Ikea in 6th place on customer-perceived innovation, which is higher than tech giants Netflix (#8), Amazon (#21), and   Microsoft (#36).

The top 20 Aii leaders will receive awards at the 4th annual American Innovation Conference hosted by Fordham University on November 16, 2021, and include:  Apple, Samsung, Weber, Ford, Toyota, Ikea, Trader Joe’s, Honda, Netflix, SoFi, Chick-fil-A, Loan Depot, Airbnb, USAA, Aflac, Goodyear, Nike, Hyundai, John Deere and PayPal.

“The pandemic continues to challenge 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 and the environment in light of the pandemic and the climate crisis,” said Gina Woodall, VP of Client Services and Group Director, Illuminas.  Companies ranked highest on the Sii are #1 Loan Depot, #2 SoFi, and #3 Ford which are also leaders in company innovation.  Other notable companies in the top 20 on the Sii are #6 JetBlue, #10 HealthNet, and #16 Goodyear.


About the American Innovation Index:
The Aii scores and ranks the innovativeness of U.S. companies based on their customers’ experiences. The 4th annual study was conducted in July-August 2021, and covers 175 firms from 20 industries, such as airlines, hotels, banks, TV and Internet service providers, wireless phone providers, manufacturers, and retailers. The study surveyed 6,279 consumers and covered over 28,000 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 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.

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.