BCG Henderson Institute

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Capital markets around the globe have been in a state of turbulence since the shock delivered by the COVID pandemic. Even as many countries exit this crisis, other issues, unfolding simultaneously and on multiple timescales, ensure that uncertainty remains high: the war in Ukraine, the ensuing inflation (and rising interest rates), instability in the banking sector, and the escalating threat of climate change. Given this persistent, multi-dimensional uncertainty, discount rates have risen, putting companies whose valuation rests on their long-term growth potential under particular threat.

Calibrating and putting these events into perspective is difficult: Are we witnessing a durable shift of focus towards short-term results, at the expense of long-term growth? Will the tech sector, which has been a growth engine, stagnate?

One way of gaining some perspective is by assessing shifting patterns in “vitality”—a measure of firms’ long-term growth potential. For the past five years, BCG and Fortune have published the Future 50, an index of the world’s most vital companies. Underlying this index is a predictive model, which quantifies a company’s long-term prospects based on a variety of financial and non-financial indicators, such as a company’s strategic orientation, its investments in technology, the quality of its patent portfolio, the diversity of its leadership, and its recent sales growth (read more on our methodology here). Our hypothesis, which has been borne out by results so far, is that these most vital companies will outperform the broader corporate universe in the longer run, both in revenue growth and shareholder returns.

We will publish the next Future 50 ranking in December 2023. In the meantime, we ran an interim analysis to cut through the short-term noise and provide a window into trends in the growth potential of the corporate economy.

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