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"We are deep believers in a kind of tech-enabled socializing that doesn’t exist yet," says Matt Webb, CEO of Berg. To that end, the London-based design consultancy helps the world’s top companies, including Google and Intel, dream up provocative and whimsical ways to merge technology and the real world. Its BBC-powered How Many Really? web app, for example, lets you compare the size of historical events--the Battle of Gettysburg, the sinking of the Titanic--to your own social graph. And its chummy Little Printer creates a custom, receipt-size daily newspaper, whose content is sourced entirely from Foursquare, Nike, and other web platforms. Watch out, Instapaper!

Illustration by Peter Oumanski