Twelve (12) Rising Innovation Trends From the 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2014 - Fast Co. | Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend? |

The culture of innovation across the globe is more robust than ever. Here are 5 innovation trends excerpted from the full list of 12 from Fast Company's World's 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2014:


1)  EXCEPTIONAL IS EXPECTED   Google, the No. 1 company, did not land there for the range of its activities--despite the 29 achievements we list.'s smartest businesses tend to laser-focus on just a few goals; broad ambition can distract from the nitty-gritty required to turn goals into reality. Yet from Google Fiber to Google Glass to investing in new health technologies, Google executes at a high level repeatedly. That's why it tops the list.


How do you make meaningful change in the face of calcified institutions? Sometimes you just have to go around them.



2.   INNOVATION IS EPISODIC   ....From breakthrough change at Philips (No. 50), development of LED lighting has been under way there for 50 years--and a specific 11-month deadline provided the essential innovative exclamation point.

….great businesses are self-sustaining. Dropbox (No. 4) and Airbnb (No. 6) are darlings of the venture set, but they also charge real customers real money for a product with real value. Unlike …pre-2008 whose business models rely on advertising for revenue (Facebook, Twitter, et al.), these enterprises are transaction based--and are reaping the rewards.


…Today, energy efficiency, alternative fuels, and recycling are core advantages for successful enterprises. Brazil's Braskem (No. 41), a $19 billion petrochemical giant, uses sugarcane rather than oil to create in-demand plastics. Levi Strauss (No. 30) produces more than 10% of its clothing with recycled materials, on its way to 100%. ....You don't have to own a Tesla (No. 20) to see the impact.

How do you make meaningful change in the face of calcified institutions? Sometimes you just have to go around them. … (No. 9) …avoidied unions and politicos by crowdsourcing direct assistance to teachers. Bloomberg Philanthropies (No. 2) uses data to answer questions other foundations aren't asking and SHoP Architects (No. 33) manages to both create cutting-edge designs à la indie firms and get them built at the appropriately industrial scale.

See the full list of 12 here.


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