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The 100 Most Creative People In Business 2013

Data geeks, world-changers, actors, rappers and all types of innovators prove the value of creativity at a crucial time in business.

In an era in which best-laid plans are quickly disrupted, the need for new tactics is constant. And that creates a need for constant inspiration. Our 100 Most Creative People in Business come from all industries around the globe; as they share their experiences in our pages, we hope they inspire yours. As in the four prior years, the 2013 edition features only people who haven't been on any previous lists or profiled in our magazine before. And still, there was no shortage of mind-blowing candidates: from TV's Connie Britton (Nashville), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), and Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele (Key & Peele); to folks from outifits as diverse as Ford, Twitter, Dropbox, Live Nation, the NFL, the NBA, Yahoo, Samsung, American Express, Foursquare, Big Machine Records, Spotify, Gap, and dozens of companies you may not know, including a wonderfully named fashion blog, Man Repeller.

We gave this year's No. 1 ranking to data king Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight.com blog on the New York Times website so spectacurarly predicted the outcome of last fall's elections. Silver has also parsed big data to great success, forecasting sporting events and business trends (See Nate Silver's Greatest Hits). But in our story, he talks eloquently about the limitations of data and the short-sighted, reflexive assumption that data can solve all problems. In other words, he talks about how creativity needs to be applied to find true meaning from our growing world of numbers. —Robert Safian

How To Use The Online List

The quickest way to experience this list is to scroll through it. All 100 honorees are directly to the right of this text if you're reading this on FastCompany.com. But we've built the online experience with all sorts of velocities in mind. You'll find a rich array of slideshows that tell the stories of these people and their ideas, visually. Darrin Crescenzi (No. 37) offers a window into his design thinking with a slideshow of his sketches of the LeBron James logo for Nike. In an exclusive video, rapper Kendrick Lamar (No. 26) tells the story of how his upbringing in Compton influenced his art and continues to impact his daily creative decision making.

Sound is all over the online list. You'll find clips from Roman Mars (No. 63), host of the 99% INVISIBLE podcast about everyday design, and a selection of tracks from DJ/Producer Diplo (No. 28).

If, like a lot of readers of web content, you're looking for takeaways, we've distilled some of our reporting and stories into precise, actionable ideas. Marc Maron (No. 34) offers his guide to great conversations (i.e., "Lean In To Your Neuroses"), an online exclusive. Daniel Graf (No. 5), the man who led the development of Google's beautiful, refreshed mapping experience, offers lessons learned on the way to kicking Apple’s ass on its own turf, after Apple booted Google off of its iOS.

Conversely, we've taken some of the shorter bits of inspiration in the magazine and expanded them to tell the stories behind them. You'll get longer pieces about Big Machine's Scott Borchetta (No. 88) and Bravo's Andy Cohen (No. 75), for example.

The list is just the beginning, too. Expect expanded stories, audio, and video on the people we've featured here and ongoing coverage of their creative endeavors, plus ongoing social conversations about the topics raised by our Most Creative People.

Call it an exercise in practicing what we preach. —Tyler Gray

A version of this article appeared in the June 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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