The 10 Most Innovative Consumer Product Companies

Nike plastic bottles

01 / Nissan

For creating the Leaf, the first mass-market electric car.

02 / Nike >>

For its mix of sports, style, and yes, plastic bottles. Nike developed 2010 World Cup jerseys for 10 countries/teams from discarded plastic bottles scavenged from Japanese and Taiwanese landfill sites. The bottles were melted down to produce a yarn for fabric for the jerseys.

03 / Samsung >>

For transforming itself into a steady source of cutting-edge electronics. Samsung has rolled out new and sophisticated options for kitchen appliances, including the Samsung FTQ307 induction range, which features a three-fan convection oven and warming drawer, and the Samsung RF4287, which features a flexible middle drawer that can help save energy usually lost to people (especially kids) opening the entire fridge and hanging in the doorway.

04 / Dyson

For continuing to rethink urban appliances—with style. The Dyson City vacuum, technically known as the DC26 Multi-floor Vacuum, is explicitly designed for urban apartment dwellers in need of a space-saving solution. Dyson Air Multiplier fans draw in air and amplify it, from 15 to 18 times, with no blades or grille, producing an uninterrupted stream of smooth air without unpleasant buffeting.

05 / P&G

For implementing a systemized, measured means of achieving a broader set of sustainability goals. Executives announced this year a series of 10-year goals, including using renewable energy for 30% of its factories and 20% renewable or recycled materials for all products and packages.

06 / Whirlpool

For its smart washer and dryer line that brings the kind of intelligence and personalization to laundry that we've grown accustomed to in, say, our home-entertainment centers.

07 / Method

For doubling down on its commitment to both good design and sustainability in home cleaning products. Its new eco-friendly laundry detergent uses pump technology (a first for laundry detergent brands) to eliminate the mess created by traditional jugs of detergent. If the consumer follows the "four pump" rule, there is less wasted detergent.

08 / Oxo

For reshaping more and more everyday household tools with its smart design ethos. The International Design Excellence Awards recognized the Oxo cork pull, which comes with a built-in foil-cutter; the firm also won a bronze Spark Design Award for its GG 360 LiquiSeal Travel Mug. Next up: moving out of the kitchen. Oxo Tot is a kid-friendly line that includes bathing, cleaning, feeding, and lighting gear.

09 / Unilever

For helping consumers change their cleaning habits to become better stewards of the earth—and making more of its own eco-friendly products—as part of its Cleaner Planet Plan.

10 / Merck

For developing a groundbreaking FootMapping technology for its Dr. Scholl's brand that uses 2,000 pressure sensors to measure the different areas of the foot that take the biggest hits when walking, and then recommends different orthotics solutions. FootMapping is part of an in-store orthotics center that Dr. Scholl's (a brand in Merck's consumer care division) is installing in drug stores and shoe retailers.

Browse our list of The World's Most Innovative Companies 2011

Prop Styling: Erica Blumenthal (Nike)

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