BCG Henderson Institute

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As we move past the one-year mark since the COVID-19 crisis first spread to businesses and markets around the globe, it’s clear that the competitive landscape has been significantly reshaped. New winners and new losers emerged in many industries, with the difference often explained by their responses to the pandemic and the new needs it created. What have we learned about what it takes to succeed in crises?

Some clues can be found in our Fortune Future 50 index, an annual research partnership between Fortune and the BCG Henderson Institute. The index identifies which large, public companies have the greatest vitality—the capacity to sustain long-run growth through continual innovation and reinvention. One might not have expected this capacity to be relevant amid the short-term challenges faced in a crisis. Yet amid the shocks of 2020, the Future 50 companies we identified in fall 2019, before COVID-19 had come to the fore, substantially outperformed.

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