The World’s Most Innovative Brands

Posted on March 25, 2011


Courtesy of SnowPeak on Flickr

As a junkie for catalysts of innovation, each year I eagerly await Fast Company’s list of The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. This year didn’t disappoint.

Naturally, Apple proudly sits atop the list, climbing from No. 3, and it makes me wonder if they continue the success of the Year of the iPad, will they’ll reign supreme in 2011, too? Another mover-and-shaker (no surprise) is Twitter which made it all the way from the bottom of the list last year. These two certainly were my favorite two brands to watch in 2010. Although I was a bit disappointed with Apple’s social innovations last fall, I constantly sit bright-eyed awaiting the next big toy– as do millions of other fanboys and girls. Same goes for Twitter. While I patiently await their genius business model, I’m not worried. These two are exceptionally smart brands with smart people. That’s the key.

It saddened me a bit that Google dropped from four to six this year, but I think it was fitting as they had a few social setbacks in the last 365 days. It’s nice to see a giant get a nice slice of humble pie so as not to become too evil. Luckily, with Page back at the helm, I suspect good innovations are to come in 2011. Though we may not have Google Circles yet, Google Music is a great start.

Epocrates, a new innovator to me– one known for providing docs and nurses an instant drug reference, cleared the top 10. This medical innovator also sat atop Fast Co’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Healthcare, joined by mobile app developer Voxiva, GE and PharmaSecure, a cost-effective protection against counterfeit drugs.

Another one of my favorite lists is the top 10 music innovators. While I don’t really agree with Pandora taking the crown (I’d prefer 8tracks or Grooveshark), I appreciate the company as an innovator of tunes in the digital age. The one I had to be sure made the list was Arcade Fire for their stellar collaboration with Google on their HTML5 digital album release delight, The Wilderness Downtown.

So there you have it, folks. The innovation kings and queens. I urge you to take a gander at the other vertical lists and let me know what you think. Do you agree with the global list? Does Nokia deserve it’s perch? Does Coca-Cola make a great music innovator? Think another health company deserves to make the top 10? Share your thoughts below!