2009's 50 most innovative companies

The Fast Company has unleashed its list of the 50 most innovative companies for 2009. Innovation is a key nowadays to making (and more importantly, selling) products, so making a top 50 list is certainly a grand achievement. Without further ado, here is the list.

1. Team Obama: Barack Obama made the top position because his team innovated in his quest to become the next President of the United States. He employed the power of technology, using Twitter and various other internet tools to connect with voters, doing what no other President has done fully before.

2. Google: Google continues to make it to innovation lists, and with little wonder. The University-student-started company has expanded to a billion dollar global corporation, becoming much more than a search engine. Google's various tools have helped many people, including one particular service that can even track flu outbreaks before they're officially warned.

3. Hulu: Hulu is quickly becoming a very popular video viewing site, beginning to rival YouTube, because it is industry supported and can provide full, free episodes of TV content. One drawback is that it's only available to US customers currently, but Hulu are working on expanding their viewer audience to a global scale.

4. Apple: One company that many will say doesn't innovate, but it's hard to argue that they aren't leading the pack in certain fronts. With Tim Cook now temporarily leading Apple and investigating new possible devices, it will be interesting to see what products they announce next.

5. Cisco Systems: Cisco is an interesting company in that it does not respond to just one person; Cisco expands by distributing leadership across the parts of the company, and then providing incentive for them to act like start-up businesses.

6. Intel: A world leader in CPU systems, Intel certainly is creating bigger (technically smaller) and better products all the time. They continue to try and make computing a greener place to be, showing this with their recent Atom processor, using 1/10th the amount of power a regular CPU uses.

7. Pure Digital Technologies: Pure Digital Technologies is an interesting company, because it allows customers to customize their own digital cameras from a gallery of over 1000 samples. This level of customer interaction could hopefully lead other companies to do the same, making technology even more personal.

8. WuXi PharmaTech: A strange company to see on a list of innovation, but that doesn't mean it is not deserving. The company continues to hire world leaders in pharmaceutical development and is striving to create better, less dangerous and more efficient drugs to make the Earth a better place to live for all.

9. Amazon: Amazon began life as a simply book retailer online, but today, they are a lot more than just that. Amazon is essentially an online mall nowadays, selling everything you'd ever need, and they even have their own device named the Kindle that allows digital book purchasing and downloading, which is a very handy device for those on the go.

10. Ideo: Idea is a design consultancy firm, designing all sorts of things, but now they are focusing on making the world a better place. A new Smart Gauge allows Ford Fusion owners to learn to drive in a more efficient way, and a new paid video service partnered with (RED) allows customers to see how any lives they have saved using the service's donated funds.

For the full list of 50 companies, please check out the website shown up the top.

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38 Comments

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I hope you're joking. Facebook redefined the entire social networking paradigm. It's a brilliant tool, the uses of which go far beyond casual socializing.

You might not like it, but at least give credit where it's due.

Microsoft is 34? Sheesh, at least I would have put them above Amazon (#9). Hulu is #3? Watching episodes online isn't too new, but having the convenience of one place is.

I would have put Google and Apple a bit lower this year. I didn't really experience much new with Google, and Apple seems to be tossing almost the same stuff so far.

Isn't it too early to call who's the most innovative in 2009? It's not even the end of February yet.

I'm sorry to all for my misleading title, but if you'll have a look at The Fast Company's page, they themselves call it the 50 most innovative companies. I don't want to name it anything else as it would be wrong; I'm trying to be accurate, even if it does seem strange Sorry again.

Well, it's not your list. I might note that the Fast Company site doesn't mention that they are in order of most-to-least though... And Microsoft is on there. (For their efforts to web-based and cloud services.) There's a funny poem from the source's writer, too.

"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (of Data)"
with apologies to Wordsworth

We wander lonely as a cloud
Of data over Redmond's hills
As Ozzie fears his vision thing
Will never measure up to Bill's.

The Vista launch sure hit some snags
But Windows 7 makes them right,
And Flakenstein is ramping up
So Live Labs' future's looking bright.

The Yahoo deal went belly up
And Google wants to clean our clock.
Those Mac ads hurt, so we struck back
And Gates and Seinfeld spurred some talk.

With Xbox Live, we'll float some tricks
And Red Dog's sure to be a hit
So crank those patent presses up --
We're Microsoft. We never quit.

Never heard of Fast Company, may be well known of in the States? It doesn't say why the "companies" were chosen or by whom, without that it's not much more than a random list. For example are Facebook currently innovating?
Whether you call a political campaign a company is a matter of opinion but pretend it was what did they do differently to previous political "companies"?

See, Neowin should do a list without the politics, and perhaps throw out the numbering system. Just list, in no particular order (ahah! non-flamebait!), companies that have brought interesting things to the market, technology that has truly changed how we do things, and so forth. Perhaps even not-so-well-known items. Could even advertise discuss that Stardock product people seem to adore (not blinds, fences).

See what I'm getting at? A real article unlike this whopping turd created by Fast Company.

Gary7 said,
Obama is NOT a company . Politics should have been left out of this.

I think it was pretty innovative how "Team Obama" "sold" the candidate to you all and you all fell for it and voted for someone who was nothing like what was being sold as.

Because McCain was just a much better choice. Unfortunately, people went with the lesser evil because choosing the right candidate means voting for someone who will not likely make president... And people hate losing.

4. Apple: One company that many will say doesn't innovate, but it's hard to argue that they aren't leading the pack in certain fronts. With Tim Cook now temporarily leading Apple and investigating new possible devices, it will be interesting to see what products they announce next.

Apple probably is one of the most innovative but NONE of the above are the reasons... or you forgot to write them.

Leading in certain fronts doesn't make you innovative... investigating new devices will make you innovative but not yet.

I didn't see any reason why he put Apple 4th anyway. Just my share.

Glendi said,
Apple probably is one of the most innovative but NONE of the above are the reasons... or you forgot to write them.

Leading in certain fronts doesn't make you innovative... investigating new devices will make you innovative but not yet.

I didn't see any reason why he put Apple 4th anyway. Just my share.


Heh, that's just what was on The Fast Company's list

2009 has just started, don't you mean 2008? For that matter, what did apple innovate in 2008? I'm not saying they never innovate, but 2008 was not their year. Same goes for cisco and google. Not much innovation from them in 2008. Or do you mean most innovative companies ever? In that case this is a very limited and subjective list.

Wuxi Pharmatech hasn't achieved anything yet, and they really aren't the only pharma company that is trying to make better drugs

Team Obama?? they already started their top 50 wrong. Isn't this supposed to be a political party's agenda? This isn't some independent guy that managed to get the presidency by himself, hundreds of thousands members of the democratric party help accomplish this by voting, not twitter and SMS. And surely not just this "team Obama".

I feel now I need to play with my Obama g.i.joe and eat some cookies from the Obama jar.

WuXi PharmaTech...? have they delivered any of this...?
I could say I'm going to start a company called [< snipped > - CalumJR] and beat cancer [in the face], doesn't mean i'll ever do it though...

I think neowin needs some kind of uncensorable censor tags. I wanted to know the name of this company but now I'll never know xD

But on topic, what have any of these companies done in 2009?

shhac said,
I think neowin needs some kind of uncensorable censor tags. I wanted to know the name of this company but now I'll never know xD

It wasn't anything special It just involved a swear word.

Apple deserves it for innovative cases I suppose. Not many would be willing to make nearly every product they produce non-upgradable.

It's unfortunate that their iMac computers don't come in a range of colors anymore. That was quite an innovation for them at the time.

In the same way a school is a company I guess (and it is). They are given money, they have an objective, they have stakeholders, they advertise, ... etc.

It's not a company. It just wanted better readership and figured, "hey, everyone is head over heels for Obama, let's use it!" Unfortunately, Neowin bought in and put it on the front page ...

Now if article was called "2009's People Moving to Push Their Country Towards Socialism and Destroy their Economy" -- "team Obama" should be #1, hands down. An innovated company, though? Hardly.

simon360 said,
I don't think we need to be so strict with our terms, tbh.

Agreed.

@Justin- -

In future, we have a 'Report a problem' feature on the Neowin news articles where you can inform us of any issues you have with any of our articles (for example, in this case you believe the title of the article is misleading). Some of the news team are unlikely to see these suggestions if you post them as a comment, however, they will definately see them if you use this feature. Also, comments such as the one you posted tend to interrupt the flow of discussion (in this case, it has).

Please see this screenshot for a quick reminder of this feature or for more information, please visit http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=734026&st=0.

Thank you.
CalumJR
Neowin News Comment Moderator.

thats all well and good, however what is the point in forums if you cannot voice your opinion? we are meant to embrace discussion, not crush it with an iron fist.
This isn't Soviet Russia...

@Antiprophet -

There is nothing "Soviet Russia" about my comment. I have not demanded Justin- use that feature, I merely suggested he use that feature so the reporters and editors actually see his suggestion/issue.

This isn't a forum, it is a news website. This website's forums can be found here.

We believe the comments in the news articles should discuss what the article is portraying and not how the article is written. This isn't an English class or a lesson on what is right or wrong, it is an area to discuss what is written in the article above (not how it is written).

Comments discussing how the article is written interrupt the flow of discussion, just like it has here. It is pointless posting these suggestions as comments because the right people will not see them. It makes sense to use the 'Report a Problem' feature as that is its purpose.

...it is an area to discuss what is written in the article above (not how it is written)...

News, like all articles, stands or falls not only on the subject matter, but also on the ability of the author/journalist to accurately report and write on the subject.

In this case, I think the above comments are correct. The article title is '2009's 50 most innovative companies'. This is misleading when, upon reading, the Obama team is described as a company at the very start.

Come on, that is beyond unprofessional, and should indeed be open to comment from readers who feel a little duped. We, as readers, are entitled to have our time valued a little more than what is shown in this case.

I fail to see how anything which is put forth as news should not be open to scrutiny in the way that it is written. Without such feedback, you come close to attempting to run a dictatorship where the author's own interpretation is above the commonly accepted standards of grammar and common-sense!

@SniperX -

I'm confused as to why you think I said these users cannot comment on how the article is written?

They can comment, however, we'd much prefer if they used to 'Report a Problem' feature outlined above.

I have never said users cannot comment on thier issues publicly, however, it is pointless if they do because the right people won't see it. If they use the 'Report a Problem' feature, it would benefit them greatly because every editor and reporter would then see the user's suggestion and if they agree, articles would be changed.

I don't think Sam wrote the list, Fast Company did, so the "Report a problem" wouldn't apply really, would it?

@+GreyWolfSC -

I am referring to some of Justin-'s comments (not people who are questioning the validity of 'companies' in this article). Comments including -

"Unfortunately, Neowin bought in and put it on the front page ..."

Now if article was called "2009's People Moving to Push Their Country Towards Socialism and Destroy their Economy" -- "team Obama" should be #1, hands down. An innovated company, though? Hardly.

It is statements like this that remind me of a saying that the far right was using to push the unjust war in Iraq: 'If you don't like it, then get the hell out.'