The 2011 Most Innovative Companies

The World's
Most Innovative Companies 2011

Rank Name Last Year
01 /  APPLE

For dominating the business landscape, in 101 ways

3
02 /  TWITTER

For five years of explosive growth that have redefined communication

50
03 /  FACEBOOK

For 600 million users, despite Hollywood

1
04 /  NISSAN

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

05 /  GROUPON

For reinvigorating retail -- and turning down $6 billion.

06 /  GOOGLE

For instantly upgrading the search experience

4
07 /  DAWNING INFORMATION INDUSTRY

For building the world's fastest supercomputer

08 /  NETFLIX

For streaming itself into a $9 billion powerhouse (and crushing Blockbuster)

12
09 /  ZYNGA

For being the $500 million alpha dog of social gaming

10 /  EPOCRATES

For giving doctors and nurses instant drug reference

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An artificial heart and its lightweight power drive. A better airline for Brazil. Chocolate from Madagascar and a soccer shirt made of plastic water bottles. A fashion leader escaping its pattern, a smelter, and that little coupon startup in Chicago that's suddenly worth billions. All this from one simple word: innovation.

The 50 companies on our 2011 list have chosen a unique path. Today's business landscape is littered with heritage companies whose CEOs battle their industry's broken model with inertia, layoffs, lawsuits -- anything that squeezes pennies and delays the inevitable. How many of these companies will be dominant in 2025? Few.

That world will be ruled by the kinds of companies on this list. They're nondogmatic, willing to scrap conventional ideas. (A mere 30-second TV ad? Let's do 200 online videos in two days, say the creatives at Wieden+Kennedy.) They're willing to fail. (Google's search team runs up to 200 experiments at any one time.) They know what they stand for. (By making home-viewing as easy as possible, Netflix walloped Blockbuster, which thought its business had something to do with stores.)

This is a list full of surprises, even though our No. 1 pick is no surprise at all. Apple itself was once written off; but the company restored innovation to its proper place, and as you'll see when you open the gatefold to the right, our entire economy has benefited as a result.

Rank Name Last Year
11 /  TRADER JOE'S
12 /  ARM
13 /  BURBERRY
14 /  KOSAKA SMELTING AND REFINING
15 /  FOURSQUARE
16 /  ESPN
17 /  TURNER SPORTS
18 /  HUAWEI 5
19 /  INTEL 14
20 /  SYNCARDIA
21 /  DONORSCHOOSE.ORG
22 /  EBAY
23 /  NIKE 13
24 /  LINKEDIN
25 /  WIEDEN + KENNEDY
26 /  YANDEX
27 /  AMAZON 2
Rank Name Last Year
28 /  OPENING CEREMONY
29 /  IBM 18
30 /  AMYRIS
31 /  DOUBLE NEGATIVE
32 /  KASPERSKY LAB
33 /  PEPSICO
34 /  UNIVISION
35 /  SNOHETTA
36 /  MARKS & SPENCER
37 /  MICROSOFT 48
38 /  SOLARCITY
39 /  SHAADI.COM
40 /  VOXIVA
41 /  CISCO 17
42 /  ENERKEM
43 /  SAMSUNG 36
44 /  PANDORA
Rank Name Last Year
45 /  GE 19
46 /  CHANGCHUN DACHENG INDUSTRIAL GROUP
47 /  AZUL
48 /  STAMEN DESIGN
49 /  FX
50 /  MADECASSE

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