The World’s Most Innovative Brands 2011

Posted on February 21, 2012

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Last year was a stellar year for innovation. 2011 put tablets, mobile payments, targeted therapy, education and eco-technology on the map. And it’s about time.

Movements such as Occupy Wall Street (#7) and Recyclebank (#37) brought our missteps as a society to the forefront of our conscience. Kickstarter (#41) completely blew away traditional startup funding. As a health activist, I’m thrilled to see Genentech (#25), a brand I’ve been lucky enough to work with, get recognition for using technology to improve healthcare. And my personal favorite, Square (#5), turned our iPhones and iPads into super cash registers.

It’s childhood moments like the one Jack Dorsey recalls in an interview with Fast Company that become catalysts of innovation. Fast Co explains:

He tells me a story about how his father, an engineer and semi-serial entrepreneur, helped him build a model of a mass spectrometer out of Legos, ball bearings, and magnets when he was 11. (A few weeks later, Dorsey’s father, Tim, tells me his version of the story, taking the time to teach me the concept of mass spectrometry. In the Lego device, the magnets were there to encourage ball bearings of different sizes to arrange themselves by weight, just as a real device would do with gases of different weights. “Did it work?” I ask. “No! It was a disaster!” Tim Dorsey laughs. “But we had a great time!”)

And that’s exactly it. That’s what makes these brands succeed– having a great time. With all the discussions on Google’s cafeteria, toys and campuses, it’s no surprise the company continues to rock the charts, this year moving from #6 to #3 after bringing G+ into our social playgrounds. Apple, too, reigned supreme maintaining the top spot even as its late leader sadly passed on the crown.

These crowns aren’t easy to achieve, but they’re well-deserved and I hope to see even more breakout stars in 2012. To compare these shining stars, take a peek at last year’s leaders. For the full list of the top 50 and to view innovators by vertical, visit Fast Company and soak up the brain food. After all, you could be next.

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