Fast Company is dedicated to celebrating innovative businesses, and this issue celebrates the best of the best. Several months ago, we set out to identify and rank the world's most innovative companies. We deployed dozens of reporters around the globe to gather data, pore over financial statements, and interview experts. We amassed a list of finalists several hundred companies long. Then we convened our selection committee—our own writers and editors—to debate criteria and argue over which characteristics we most wanted to reward. We agreed that driving change at a larger institution is far harder than at a small shop. But we also agreed that sometimes it is a smaller outfit that leads the way.