For learning eight surprising lessons in innovation from a 50-year exploration of LEDs.

Changing a 120-year-old lightbulb model was just the beginning for the global leviathan that is Philips. The Netherlands-based company that makes everything from DVD players to MRI scanners is leading the charge in the new lighting revolution with its hyperefficient lightbulbs and Hue system. The culmination of half a century worth of research, LEDs are a new generation that Philips is betting will affect not just people's homes, but agriculture, health care, and urban safety. It has the potential to reduce the amount of electricity used in the U.S. by 50%, saving $250 billion. With the scaling of the technology, the price of LED bulbs has dropped from $40 in 2010 down to just $10 in 2014 and produce light for 20 years and use just 11 watts of power. But this points to more than just energy efficiency. The interactivity of LEDs and Philip's Hue system lets users adjust the color of light emitted for certain purposes—such as a subtle alarm to catch the train—and can be accessed and controlled via smartphone, from anywhere. Behind these initiatives, Philips saw its third-quarter revenue increase 267% compared with where it was in 2012.

[Photo by Kelvin Van Aelst]

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  • It is with equal share of joy and frustration to see this powerhouse of innovation slip into the top 50. An organisation of the people, committed to changing the world a positive and sustainable way. An organisation that infuses this vision across such an incredibly diverse array of products and technologies; enhancing the lives of more people day-to-day than many of those ahead of them. A quiet achiever that deserves significantly more acknowledgement for their commitment to quality, accessibility, and the depth and breadth of their products and services. A remarkable innovator. Look for your self! Be amazed. Take your attention away from the screen based innovation that predominates this list and see the true depth and breadth of innovation that abounds.

    Congratulations Philips! Thank you.

    M.S Industrial Designer