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The Most Innovative Companies of 2016: Top Companies by Sector

  • advertising

    • 01

      GoPro

      For letting everyone in on the extreme-sports video action.

    • 02

      Samsung Electronics

      For becoming the toughest iPhone competitor in the galaxy.

    • 03

      Volvo Trucks

      For walking all over the competition with unforgettable stunts.

    • 04

      Pereira & O'Dell

      For tugging heart (and social) strings to deliver the unexpected.

    • 05

      Barton F. Graf 9000

      For using humor to make its odd name a household one.

    • 06

      Deutsch LA

      For upgrading its ad agency into a product developer too.

    • 07

      Anomaly

      For moving beyond lip balm to tackle the Super Bowl.

    • 08

      BBDO NY

      For using social media to capture the attention of today's distracted youth.

    • 09

      360i

      For collecting product data with a clever campaign.

    • 10

      RebelMouse

      For snatching up brands with its social media sounding board.

  • advertising & marketing

  • africa

    • 01

      Protect Worldwide CIC

      For protecting endangered wildlife through technology

    • 01

      iHub

      For connecting, amplifying, and accelerating Africa’s tech community.

    • 02
    • 02

      M-Pesa

      For leading the mobile payments revolution in the developing world

    • 02

      Sanergy

      For bringing sustainable sanitation to Sub-Saharan Africa.

    • 03

      One Acre Fund

      For fostering a new generation of farmers in Africa.

    • 03

      African Leadership University

      For educating Africa's next generation of leaders

    • 04

      Samsung Electronics Africa

      For bringing 21st century technology to the rural Africa

    • 04

      Rocket Internet

      MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES 2014 5.3K SHARES ••• THE TOP 10 MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES IN AFRICA AFRICAN STARTUPS, NONPROFITS, AND BIG BUSINESSES ARE TACKLING A RANGE OF CHALLENGES, FROM SHOPPING TO SOCIAL GOOD. BY FAST COMPANY STAFF 1. IHUB For connecting, amplifying, and accelerating Africa’s tech community. Erik Hersman's iHub has become an important resource for Kenya’s tech community. The not-for-profit is a hybrid coworking space and university commons, which has grown to more than 10,000 members in just three years and has led to the launching of 150 companies—many of which are dedicated to finding technological solutions to Africa-specific problems. 2. SANERGY For bringing sustainable sanitation to Sub-Saharan Africa. More than 12,000 people living in Kenya's slums are now receiving daily portable toilets containing toilet paper, sawdust, soap, and water thanks to Sanergy's sustainability model—local residents purchase and manage the sanitation facilities, allowing them to become micro-entrepreneurs.

    • 05

      Konga

      For making the online shopping experience more secure.

  • architecture

    • 02

      Zaha Hadid Architects

      For being dedicated to bold curves.

    • 02

      Snøhetta

      For aspiring to reunite New Yorkers with Times Square by reconfiguring the messy pedestrian plaza.

    • 03

      Archiblox

      For making the sustainable home a reality

    • 03

      Adjaye Associate

      For keeping libraries relevant with the beautiful, open-air Francis George Library in Washington, D.C.

    • 03

      Diller Scofidio + Renfro

      For being unafraid to pick a fight.

  • automotive

    • 01
    • 01

      Hyundai

      For augmenting autos with gesture-controlled heads-up displays

    • 02

      Ford

      For embracing e-bikes and ride sharing

    • 02
    • 03

      Tesla Motors

      For adding autopilot features overnight and making your car come to you

  • big data

    • 01

      GE

      For harnessing data from its planes and trains to power a new Industrial Internet, potentially saving billions.

    • 01
    • 01

      Splunk

      For deploying its data crunchers to improve operations for its 5,000 clients, from Zynga to Rutgers University to Comcast to the FBI.

    • 02
    • 02

      quid

      For tracking emerging tech trends with trillions of data points.

    • 02

      Kaggle

      For feeding its DIY data scientists cash-prize challenges (then molding them into a consulting biz).

    • 03

      Ayasdi

      For using a visual approach to take the guesswork out of big data.

    • 03
    • 03

      Kaggle

      For pitting data scientists from across the globe against each other to solve research problems for prize money.

    • 04

      IBM

      For playing global data evangelist by sharing its problem-solving power with cities, businesses, and universities.

  • biotech

  • china

    • 01
    • 01

      Xiaomi

      For launching low-cost, high-quality smart TVs and -phones to steal market share from industry stalwarts.

    • 01

      Tencent

      For building a suite of communications apps that 300 million Chinese are talking through.

    • 01

      Apple

      For making China 25% of its massive business

    • 02

      Landwasher

      For bringing its environmentally friendly, water-free flush toilet to communities in need.

  • consumer electronics

    • 02

      Xiaomi

      For using sharp marketing to become China's biggest smartphone maker in just three years.

    • 03

      Apple

      For reigniting customer passion by transforming its mobile OS and desktop.

    • 03

      Roku

      For leading the evolution of television.

    • 03

      DJI

    • 04
  • crowdfunding

    • 01

      DonorsChoose.org

      For setting its sights on education reform.

    • 02

      Patreon

      For enabling artists to sell their work directly to their fans.

    • 03

      Dragon Innovation

      For helping crowdfunded hardware products to become reality.

    • 04

      Crowdtilt

      For enabling crowdfunding between friends.

    • 05

      Experiment

      For bypassing politics in research funding.

    • 06

      Crowdrise

      For bringing fundraising to the masses. C

    • 07

      Unbound

      For giving readers a say in which books get published.

    • 08

      Beacon Reader

      For creating a writer-centric paywall. I

    • 09

      Airbrite

      For building tools for crowdfunded companies.

    • 10

      Fundrise

      For changing the rules of commercial real estate.

  • data science

    • 01

      Spotify

      For finding the beat in the data

    • 02

      IBM

      For taking on weather forecasting

    • 03

      Digital Reasoning

      For stopping Wall Street rule breaking before it happens

    • 04

      Mount Sinai

      For creating a tool to predict the role of genes in immunology

    • 05

      Royal Dutch Shell

      For identifying smarter places to drill

    • 06

      D2L

      For personalizing the learning experience

    • 07

      Costco

      For saving water--and money

    • 08

      Google

      For making its apps machine smart

    • 09

      Blue Cross Blue Shield

      For learning from 106 million patients and $350 billion in claims.

    • 10

      Arimo

      For letting anyone crunch numbers like Google

  • design

    • 02

      Nike

      For putting sustainability at the top of its design agenda.

    • 03
    • 03

      Disney Research

      For building bonkers technology experiments

    • 03

      Warby Parker

      For turning an e-commerce company into a pioneer for retail design.

    • 04

      Metalab

      For taking an approach to software design that's anything but slack

  • drones

    • 01

      DJI

      For driving the evolution of an industry

    • 02

      3D Robotics

      For bringing programmable UAVs to the classroom

    • 03

      Ehang

      For using virtual reality to give everyone wings

    • 04

      Skycatch

      For being a building contractor's eyes in the sky

    • 05

      Airware

      For developing a drone operating system

  • education

    • 01

      DonorsChoose.org

      For teaching government a thing or two about education reform

    • 01

      Babbel

      For helping anyone speak like a local

    • 01
    • 01

      Coursera

      For simultaneously scaring and wooing brick-and-mortar universities into the future by helping get their courses online, at no cost to students.

    • 02
    • 02

      Inkling

      For rewriting the book on e-books.

    • 02

      Wisecrack

      For proving that learning can be f*@$ing hilarious

    • 02

      Udacity

      For blowing open the online education market with the backing of seasoned entrepreneurs.

    • 03

      Kaplan

      For testing and prepping students for the new era of education.

    • 03

      Google

      For taking students where the school bus can't, using virtual reality-style journeys

  • energy

    • 01

      Nest

      For heating up the dream of a smart home.

    • 01

      Tesla Motors

      For obliterating the major barrier to wider adoption of electric vehicles.

    • 01
    • 01

      Tesla Motors

      For taking rechargeables to Africa

    • 02

      SolaRoad

      For enlisting travelers to validate its solar-panel roadways

    • 02

      Landwasher

      For building the waterless toilet of the future.

    • 02
    • 02

      GE

      For harnessing the Industrial Internet to build the world’s first intelligent turbine.

    • 03

      Enalta

      or saving Brazil’s biofuels industry, by rolling out sensory and GPS software that monitors seeding and irrigation, leading to a richer crop for farmers.

    • 03

      Toyota

      For fostering the hydrogen fuel-cell market's growth

  • enterprise software

    • 01

      Amazon

      For leveraging Web Services to fuel voice and video ambitions

    • 02

      Slack

      For becoming the creative home of our work lives

    • 03

      Box

      For building the backbone of major businesses

    • 04

      Microsoft

      For (finally) putting its OS on the house

    • 05

      Zendesk

      For predicting when customers will get angry

    • 06

      DocuSign

      For forming key alliances to promote its e-signature tech

    • 07

      Asana

      For making project management­ fun (!)

    • 08

      Domo

      For giving firms a holistic view via 300 live data sources

    • 09

      Docker

      For harmonizing cloud technologies

    • 10

      Anaplan

      For drastically reimagining the lowly spreadsheet

  • finance

    • 01

      Square

      For upending the credit card transaction-fee model for more than 2 million businesses by offering flat-rate processing.

    • 01

      Nice Systems

      For connecting banks and other clients to frazzled end users when problems arise.

    • 01

      Robinhood

      For removing the barriers to stock trading

    • 02

      Affirm

      For selling millennials consumer loans

    • 02

      Square

      For creating an email-based payment system that is perhaps the simplest way to transfer money ever. S

    • 02

      OpenGamma

      For cracking the secret world of capital markets by creating open-source risk-management software.

    • 03

      Bitcoin

      For emerging from the shadowy corners of the web into merchants’ cash registers.

    • 03

      Earnest

      For trying to fix the long-broken student-loan system

    • 03

      Lending Club

      For bringing peer-to-peer lending to the mainstream—to the tune of $1 billion in loans to prime borrowers.

    • 04

      GiveDirectly

      For funneling charitable donations to developing countries via smartphone, boosting livestock holdings and income rates.

  • fitness

    • 01

      Nike

      For generating unique offers for customers by plumbing their social media posts and spending habits.

    • 01

      Fitbit

      For outrunning its rivals in wearable tech.

    • 01
    • 01

      SoulCycle

      For cultivating a nation of spinning enthusiasts

    • 02

      Nike

      For polishing its rep as the purveyor of fitness tech.

    • 02

      Fitbit

      For mainstreaming health tracking

    • 03

      Nike

      For reaching new customers by turning the Jordan brand into a video game

    • 03

      SoulCycle

      For spinning a studio concept into a lifestyle brand.

    • 03

      Reebok

      For creating its own community of fitness fanatics.

    • 03
  • food

    • 02

      Applebee's

      For using a sense of humor to drive two years of same-store growth.

    • 02

      Domino's

      For pushing pizzas with high tech

    • 02
    • 03

      Stonyfield Farm

      For making its supply chain more sustainable—and more profitable.

    • 03

      McDonald's

      For changing the conversation with a bold rebrand

  • gaming

    • 01

      Telltale Games

      For bringing a television production schedule to the video game industry.

    • 01
    • 01

      Riot Games

      For paving the way for the next billion-dollar industry: esports

    • 02

      Sony

      For making a game console that can be all things to all players.

    • 02

      Lego

      For developing Toy Pad to let kids bring their brick creations to life

    • 03

      Plain Vanilla Games

      For playing upon the love of trivia to build communities—and one of the year's hottest games.

    • 03

      Twitch

      For making its niche video-streaming platform indispensable to the gaming industry

    • 04

      Disney

      For creating smart, interactive toys that make kids move

    • 04

      GungHo Online Entertainment

      For discovering the secret to big revenues in the free-to-play business.

    • 05

      Supercell

      For thinking creatively and strategically to become the next Finnish success story.

  • healthcare

    • 02

      Safaricom

      For bridging the healthcare gap with telecom.

    • 02

      BGI

      For making DNA sequencing mass-market.

    • 02

      MC10

      For tracking patient vitals with an electronic tattoo

    • 03

      D-Rev

      For bringing design to third-world healthcare.

    • 03

      PillPack

      For using clever alerts to remind customers to take their meds

  • hollywood

    • 01

      HBO

    • 01

      Netflix

      For pulling off one of the biggest comebacks in entertainment history.

    • 01

      Netflix

      For becoming the first global TV network

    • 02

      WME

      For strategically redefining the talent agency.

    • 02

      Universal Studios

      For breaking box-office records with canny casting and marketing

  • india

    • 02
    • 02

      ZipDial

      For dialing into the very Indian "missed call" money-saving tactic.

    • 02

      Selco

      For spreading sunshine to startups too.

    • 03

      GVK-EMRI

      For bringing life-saving emergency services to India.

    • 03

      Flipkart

      For building a portal for international brands hungry to reach Indian consumers

  • israel

    • 02

      Water-Gen

      For creating water where soldiers need it most.

    • 02

      Windward

      For demystifying shipping data

    • 03

      Team8

      For investing in the next generation of cybersecurity startups

    • 03

      BillGuard

      For helping consumers fight fraud in an increasingly hack-prone financial system.

    • 03

      Waze Mobile

      For crowdsourcing GPS navigation.

  • kickstarter companies

  • latin america

    • 01
    • 01

      Airbnb

      For helping travelers feel like locals

    • 02

      EduK

      For cultivating Brazilian startups with online education

    • 03

      Loggi

      For creating a same-day service that benefits shippers and couriers

    • 04

      Construct

      For developing an app to help fix Brazil's construction industry

    • 05

      Dafiti

      For revolutionizing Latin American e-commerce

    • 06

      Semtive

      For learning how to harvest wind power from cities

    • 07

      TiZKKA

      For helping users get style types from their FB and IG friends

    • 08

      FirstJob.Me

      For matching recent grads with global employers

    • 09

      Start-Up Chile

      For adding fuel to Chile's startup boom

  • live events

    • 01

      Periscope

      For creating a tool that can build empathy toward social injustice

    • 01
    • 02

      NBC

      For becoming an event-programming Wiz

    • 02
    • 03

      Eventbrite

      For using RFID bracelets to make ticketing a breeze

    • 04

      Banjo

      For having its finger on the pulse of the world

    • 05
    • 05

      UFC

      For taking MMA mainstream--and bringing women with it

    • 06
    • 06

      Recess

      For launching a music festival to show college students the startup way

  • local

    • 01

      Target

      For tailoring its big-box brand to urban markets, and bringing a design mentality to the city shopping experience.

    • 01

      Yelp

      For sealing the deal with its users.

    • 02

      AgLocal

      For creating the next-generation meat market.

    • 02

      Yelp

      For being the four-star-standard for local advertising.

    • 03

      StyleSeat

      For connecting stylists with new clients.

  • marketing & advertising

    • 01

      BuzzFeed

      For teaching brands to create, not sell

    • 02

      Midroll Media

      For connecting podcasters to premium advertisers

    • 03

      Instagram

      For making its image feed more shoppable

    • 04

      Under Armour

      For winning the celeb endorsement game

    • 05

      72andSunny

      For matching up powerhouse brands

    • 06

      GE

      For tripling its jobs-site traffic with self-deprecating spots

    • 07

      A24

      For creating ads as edgy as its films

    • 08

      Hindustan Unilever

      For dialing into India with a free phone-based radio station

    • 09

      World Wildlife Fund

      For conjuring animal compassion via emoji

    • 10

      Virgin America

      For showing off its sleek in-cabin experience

  • media

    • 05

      Midroll Media

      For creating Howl, a Netflix for podcasts

    • 06

      CBS

      For being the first network to go over-the-top

    • 07

      Vice Media

      For transforming traditional TV online

    • 08

      Lost My Name

      For redefining personalized publishing

    • 09

      Wasserman

      For helping athletes reach fans

  • money

  • music

    • 01

      Spotify

      For remixing its streaming service

    • 01

      Rap Genius

      For explicating the rap canon, then moving on to everything else.

    • 01
    • 01

      Shazam

      For naming that tune. All the time.

    • 02

      Spotify

      For turning constant product improvements into annual revenues of nearly $1 billion.

    • 02

      OVO Sound

      For blinging the millennial hotline by thinking meme-first

    • 02

      YY

      For reclaiming karaoke and taking it online.

    • 03

      YouTube

      For putting the best of 1970s FM and 1980s MTV into the service used most by neophyte music listeners.

    • 03

      Big Machine

      For advocating (Taylor) swiftly for artists' rights

    • 03

      Columbia Records

      For staying up all night.

  • not-for-profit

    • 01

      Black Lives Matter

      For empowering the marginalized to fight for their own justice

    • 02

      Sama

      For reinventing what it means to be a not-for-profit business

    • 03

      Watsi

      For crowdfunding thousands of surgeries around the globe

    • 04

      Kids v Cancer

      For accelerating the discovery of pediatric cancer treatments

    • 05

      92nd Street Y

      For encouraging social donors to give it up ... on a Tuesday

    • 06

      Humans of New York

      For defusing prejudices with a simple photo series

    • 07

      UNICEF

      For turning children's doodles into brighter futures

    • 08

      Every Mother Counts

      For bringing a model approach to lowering maternal mortality

    • 09

      Worldreader

      For trying to break the cycle of poverty with free digital books

    • 10

      Raising the Roof

      For humanizing the homeless in the eyes of the more fortunate

  • personal finance

  • productivity

    • 01

      Dropbox

      For stepping up its omnipresence in users’ lives through smart partnerships and acquisitions.

    • 02

      Google

      For devising the artificially intelligent personal assistant.

    • 03

      Box

      For tailoring an industry-specific cloud service to put businesses back in control of their documents.

    • 04

      IFTTT

      For letting users automate the madness of all of their apps.

    • 05

      Swiftkey

      For drawing the envy of iPhone users with its predictive Android keyboard app.

    • 06

      Fancyhands

      For assembling the future of on-demand labor.

    • 07

      Any.do

      For elbowing through a crowd of to-do-list apps.

    • 08

      Evernote

      For quietly jogging the memories of enterprise users and extending its brand into the analog world.

    • 09

      Pocket

      For changing the way we "read it later."

    • 10

      Moleskine

      For delighting creatives with digital collaborations.

The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies 2016