The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2011

From Apple to the Brazilian Amazon, Conan to Oprah, Facebook to fashion.


New York, May 16, 2011Fast Company‘s third annual ranking of The 100 Most Creative People in Business, in the magazine’s June issue and online at, counts down the most influential and surprising executives, artists, and impresarios crafting our culture—and our future.


“We know there will be controversy over the 100 personalities we’ve picked, including our No. 1 selection, Wadah Khanfar, Director General of Al Jazeera (page 76),” says Robert Safian, editor of Fast Company. “But the variety of our honorees provides a larger lesson: Creativity is not formulaic.”

The Most Creative People ranking for 2011 excludes those featured in the magazine in the past (including all 2009 and 2010 honorees). The result is a whole new class of on-the-rise creatives, from Asia to Africa, Europe to the Americas.

Honorees include Conan O’Brien (No. 8), who appears on the cover of Fast Company‘s June issue dressed as nine of the greatest creative minds throughout history.

Other honorees include Microsoft’s Alex Kipman, who led the creation of the motion-capture sensation Kinect for the Xbox; Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood; Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, whose passion for off-kilter concoctions has made the brand a fast-growing business; and White House chef Sam Kass.

Featured in the top 10:

  1. Wadah Khanfar: The director general of Al Jazeera is using the power of the press to advance populist change in the Arab world.
  2. Scott Forstall: This top Apple exec is the creative mind behind the iPhone OS.
  3. Yuri Milner: The Russian venture capitalist has supported a slew of innovative tech firms, including Facebook and Groupon, and is taking the next step with an angel investment fund.
  4. Jack Dorsey: The Twitter cofounder—and returning product leader—is also redefining mobile payments with his new venture, Square.
  5. Sebastian Thrun: A Stanford professor, Thrun is now developing unmanned robotic cars at Google
  6. Guo Pei: A Chinese fashion designer whose flair for the dramatic has even Lady Gaga wide-eyed.
  7. Sal Khan: His online video academy for students has attracted millions of views, transforming education.
  8. Conan O’Brien. His creative response to a public firing has led to a critical critical and commercial success on TBS.
  9. Jim Yong Kim. The president of Dartmouth is pioneering a new approach to health-care services.
  10. Arianna Huffington. Her Huffington Post is now the core content at AOL.

For the rest of the list and rich multimedia profiles of the 100 Most Creative People in Business, go to beginning Wednesday, May 18. The June issue of Fast Company is on newsstands beginning May 24.


About Fast Company
Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business-media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, ethonomics (ethical economics), leadership, and design. Written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders. Editor Robert Safian was named AdWeek‘s Editor of the Year in 2009. Under the leadership of publisher Christine Osekoski, Fast Company has made AdWeek‘s Hot List for three consecutive years, and executive editor Noah Robischon has tripled traffic and revenue year over year. Fast Company is owned by Joe Mansueto, founder, chairman, and CEO of Morningstar, a leading provider of independent investment research.

Media Contact:
Jocelyn Hawkes

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