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Fast company recently came out with their 2013 list of the most Innovative companies in the world. This annual report has been going for the past 5 years and is an excellent source of insight into the companies whose innovations are having the greatest impacts across their industries and our culture as a whole. So Improvides put together an infographic illustrating the breadth of industries which are affecting our lives, directly and indirectly.
When deciding which industries to assign to a company, there were often areas of strong overlap, especially in the mainly digital companies. I ended up going with the prime business model of the company. Fast Company also provide a list of companies innovating in certain sectors or geographies. However it is this list of the top 50 companies which shows a number of trends in what it means to be innovative today.
- Real-time data is driving real-world efficiency and value
A number of firms have made the list by harnessing the power of big data to improve a customer’s ability to make decisions or to provide them with a more efficient set of options. Splunk (4) is a leader in the big data movement. Uber (6) reduces redundancy in unbooked limousine time. NEST (33) thermostats reduce energy usage. Enalta (43) provides real-time crop updates to increase yields in Brazil and Qcue (49) dynamically adjusts ticket prices depending on predicted demand to increase overall revenue.
- Online customers value content curated by peers and experts
Yes, rock bottom prices are still important in eCommerce. But there is also a growing trend in people flocking to specialist sites where trendsetters can inform people what they think has value. Fab (5), Airbnb (12), Pig Newton (15) and numerous online fashion retailers (19) are growing rapidly by focusing on a particular industry and allowing people to discover something special there. Meanwhile, Yelp (30) are attractive for people seeing people’s experience with products and services, as trusted reviews.
- Advertising needs to become more human
The most effective models of engaging with an audience now appear to be on marketing with a personality, often humorous. Pinterest (8) show the beauty of products rather than the facts. Buzzfeed(18) replaced adverts with interesting and funny sponsored stories designed to be shared. Droga5 (29) produces adverts which tell stories. And Tumblr (50) requires advertising accounts to behave just like people, and only upload like a real person. This all helps engage people with their audience.
- Tech companies aren’t considered innovative just for their code anymore
Google (11) is on the list for rolling out fiber optic broadband in America. Rovio (26) and Activision (41) built on their successful video games businesses with an ecosystem of merchandise. Microsoft (48) is bridging the gap between devices with phones, tablets, computers and connection to the living room TV.
- The biggest innovators take risks that disrupt the market
A lot of people guess Amazon (2) would be high on the list, which it is. But the innovation it is cited for isn’t its Kindle, Amazon web services or ever expanding eCommerce selection. It is its multi-billion dollar investment in speeding up its entire supply chain. From buying robot sorting machines for its ever-increasing number of super-warehouses near major transport hubs, it is fueling the drive to next- and even same-day delivery, shaking up not only retailers but even Logistics specialists. And the most innovative company of 2013, Nike (1) is investing in a new shoe production process that is so different from its current ‘sew multiple layers of fabric together’ process that it will require a fundamental change to all aspects of their design, supply chain and customer experience. These companies are the market leaders because they are willing to experiment, predict where they see the market going and then making bold moves to adapt themselves ready for the future market.
What are your views on the list? Which companies do you think deserve to be on it which are missing? Let us know in the comments below.
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Nick Skillicorn is an Innovation consultant and Creativity coach in London, and author of 30 Days of Creativity Training. Find out what Improvides can do for your organisation.