Meet The Innovation Agents
For the past year, Fast Company has interviewed innovators across several industries and geographies. This slideshow offers a shortcut to each of their stories, but unfortunately there is no shortcut to replicating their success. You won't find some magical strand of DNA that links these 28 individuals, they are all radically different from one another. But you will find that they often have a genuine curiosity about why things work the way they do, and a deep passion for their work--which they believe is having a positive impact on the world.

Who should I include in 2012's Innovation Agents series? Tweet your nominations to me (@noahr) using the hashtag #InnovationAgents.



Adam D'Angelo, Charlie Cheever, Rebekah Cox, Quora
It's not just what gets answered here, but who's doing the answering. No matter what your question, Charlie Cheever, Adam D'Angelo, and the Quora team are confident you'll find an expert answer on their site.

Q&A Site Quora Builds Buzz With A-List Answerers
Dr. James Truchard's, National Instruments
Dr. T cofounded the technology giant that is National Instruments out of his garage more than 35 years ago with a $10,000 loan. NI's software and hardware are behind everything from robotics and smart cameras to medical diagnostic equipment. Next stop, commercial space flight.

The Doctor Is Very In: Dr. James Truchard's Quest For Endless Innovation
Heather Knight, Social Roboticist
Heather Knight, a key member of the Syyn Labs League of Extraordinary Nerds, curates public performances with automatons, and believes that her robots can change the world for the better. Watch the video to find out how.

Innovation Agents: Heather Knight, Social Roboticist
Jack Dorsey, Square And Twitter

"We have everyone you can imagine against us," says Jack Dorsey, the CEO of mobile credit card pay startup Square and cofounder of Twitter. But he is not cowed by fact that his startup is competing against banks with far more money to spend on pushing their products to market. Because by allowing design and engineering to lead his strategic decisions, Dorsey knows that he can out-innovate everyone else.

Innovation Agents: How Jack Dorsey Succeeds Through Simplification

Henrik Berggren, Readmill
The Berlin-based startup Readmill is introducing an app that lets you highlight a passage, add a note, and share it with friends online.

Readmill's Henrik Berggren Is Making Your Social Graph An E-Bookstore
Charles Best, DonorsChoose.org
"It's about being shameless and relentless and hustling for the first users and for the first partners," says Best, the founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org. "That takes both sort of an energy and a humility."

Getting Schooled On Starting A Business By DonorsChoose.org's Charles Best
David Gilboa, Warby Parker
"A huge driving force for our entire founding team has been this concept of really being a force for good in the world," says Gilboa, one of four cofounders of the eyewear seller Warby Parker.

The Vision Thing: Warby Parker's David Gilboa Disrupted An Industry And Improved The World's Sight
Michael Acton, Moshi Monster
Michael Acton Smith grew his company Mind Candy from an online store, to a perplexing online game, to a monster multimedia franchise by trusting his creative vision.

How Michael Acton Smith Got Out Of Perplex City And Found Moshi Monster Success
Alastair Mitchell, Huddle
Frustration can be a great motivator. Just ask Alastair Mitchell, the CEO and cofounder of Huddle, a set of tools for collaborating with teams of people spread across different geographies and in multiple languages.

Huddle CEO Alastair Mitchell's Secret Weapon: Naivete
Sasha Dichter, Acumen Fund
Sasha Dichter, the director of business development for Acumen Fund, wants you to know that social impact investing is anything but a crock. He talks to Fast Company about making a difference for global social good.

Innovation Agents - Sasha Dichter, Director of Business Development, Acumen Fund
Vyomesh Joshi, HP
User-generated content, social media, and digital photographs have all led to a boom where you might least expect it: On paper. Under Vyomesh Joshi's guidance over the last eight years, HP's Imaging and Printing Group revenue has grown from $19 billion to $25.8 billion, and its operating profit has doubled.

HP's Vyomesh Joshi Is Laser Printing the Web's Future
Nusrat Durrani, MTV
For Nusrat Durrani, senior vice president and general manager of MTV World, the connective tissue that binds cultures and countries is music. It also provides the insistent beat that drives MTV’s newest multi-platform global music brand, MTV Iggy, a channel that aims to bring artists and pop culture from around the world to America.

MTV's Nusrat Durrani Introduces Global Beats To U.S. Audiences
Mikkel Svane, Zendesk
Mikkel Svane of Zendesk managed to grow his cloud-based help desk software startup in the wake of customer complaints. "The best thing a company can do," he tells us, "is embrace its mistakes." You listening, Netflix?

Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane: Complaints Are Good for Business
John Sperry, Mindshare Technologies
Got a beef about the bathroom in your local Arby's? Tell Mindshare Technologies CEO John Sperry. He's up to his ears in customer complaints. So why's he still smiling?

Mindshare Technologies CEO John Sperry Addresses Your Complaints
Joe Jimenez, Novartis
As CEO of Novartis, Europe's second largest drug company, the former competitive swimmer Joe Jimenez won't rest until he snags the top spot. The key: innovative products, expansion into new markets, and good old-fashioned team building.

Innovation Agents: Joe Jimenez, CEO Of Novartis
Jeffrey Merrihue, MOFILM
Traditional ad agencies aren't going away, but according to MOFILM CEO Jeffrey Merrihue, MOFILM's crowdsourced mobile video content and its community of creative filmmakers are going to give them a run for their money.

MOFILM Founder Jeffrey Merrihue On Mining The Crowd For Screen Gems
Lady Gaga, Polaroid
Of the many labels pegged to Lady Gaga--pop star, fashion icon, provocateur--here's one title you might not expect to see on her résumé: creative director at Polaroid. The "Bad Romance" superstar teamed with the camera and eyewear company earlier this year. Two of the three "Grey Label" products she helped develop have yet to come to market; Polaroid says the Gaga Goggles are still in development.

How Lady Gaga Designed Polaroid's Grey Label Camera Glasses
Jeff Dachis, Dachis Group
Dachis Group founder and CEO Jeff Dachis, the digital media wunderkind who started Razorfish back in the '90s, is on his way to building a social business empire.

Innovation Agents: Jeff Dachis, Founder, Dachis Group
George Slessman, IO
The IO CEO is betting that his modular concept for data center management is going to change the face of computing. But it needs to happen fast.

Can George Slessman Change The Way We Compute?
Gurbaksh Chaha, RadiumOne
RadiumOne founder and CEO Gurbaksh Chahal, an entrepreneurial prodigy, talks with Fast Company about the future of social advertising.

RadiumOne CEO on His McDonald's Rejection, Social Ads, and Do-Not-Track Legislation
Drew Patterson, Jetsetter
The 34-year-old founder of the invitation-only travel community Jetsetter is peddling the kind of getaway packages you might only dream of. Except many of them are discounted--in price, not service.

Jetsetter's Drew Patterson Wants You To Take A (Luxurious, Inexpensive) Vacation
Dinesh Paliwal, Harman
This year, Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal launched the first social-networking automobile so drivers can get Facebook, Twitter, texts, and Internet connectivity and still keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

Innovation Agents: Dinesh Paliwal, CEO Of Harman
Dermot McCormack, MTV Networks Music & Logo Group
Dermot McCormack's led a digital turnaround that's put MTV on the top of the online heap as the web's most-visited music destination.

Innovation Agents: Dermot McCormack, EVP Digital Media, MTV Networks Music & Logo Group
Amy Rees Anderson, MediConnect Global
MediConnect Global's CEO Amy Rees Anderson says there's a simple fix to stop the rising cost of health care: digitize records and just let patients control their own files.

Innovation Agents: Amy Rees Anderson, CEO MediConnect Global
Matt Greeley, Brightidea
Behind GE's Ecomagination Challenge is Brightidea's software, building a powerful grid of innovation, one idea at a time.

Innovation Agents: Matt Greeley, CEO of Brightidea
Robert Wolfe, Crowdrise
With cofounders Edward Norton, Shauna Roberson, and his brother Jeffro, Robert Wolfe is on a mission to put the fun back in fundraising with Crowdrise.

Innovation Agents: Robert Wolfe, Co-Founder of Crowdrise
Britta Gross, GM
By the end of this year, there should be 15,000 Chevy Volts and Opel Amperas on the road, and hydrogen-powered vehicles aren't far behind. Where to power up all those electric cars? Britta Gross, GM's director of global energy systems and infrastructure commercializaion, is working on the solution.

Innovation Agents: Britta Gross, Director of GM's Global Energy Systems and Infrastructure Commercialization
Who Should Be An Innovation Agent In 2012?
Who should I include in 2012's Innovation Agents series? Tweet your nominations to me (@noahr) using the hashtag #InnovationAgents.



Meet The Innovation Agents

For the past year, Fast Company has interviewed innovators across several industries and geographies. This slideshow offers a shortcut to each of their stories, but unfortunately there is no shortcut to replicating their success. You won't find some magical strand of DNA that links these 28 individuals, they are all radically different from one another. But you will find that they often have a genuine curiosity about why things work the way they do, and a deep passion for their work—which they believe is having a positive impact on the world.

Who should I include in 2012's Innovation Agents series? Tweet your nominations to me (@noahr) using the hashtag #InnovationAgents.

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