Here are 16-20 of MIT’s Technology Review’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2011. We’re posting in increments of five every few days as not to overwhelm you with info and required reading.
Technology Review uses the following criteria to choose the most innovative companies,
What is a TR50 company? It is a business whose innovations force other businesses to alter their strategic course. TR50 members are nominated by Technology Review’s editors, who look for companies that over the last year have demonstrated original and valuable technology, are bringing that technology to market at a significant scale, and are clearly influencing their competitors.
16) First Solar
Why: It is reducing the cost of utility-scale photovoltaic installations.
Key innovation: First Solar constrains costs with vertical integration of everything from plant construction to the manufacture of high-efficiency cadmium telluride cells.
17) Foundation Medicine
Why: Its new diagnostics exploit a growing understanding of the molecular basis of cancer.
Key innovation: It has developed a comprehensive cancer diagnostic test and is partnering with pharmaceutical companies to use the test in drug development.
18) General Electric
Why: By building flexible and efficient natural-gas power plants, GE is making it easier for utilities to use intermittent sources of renewable energy.
Key innovation: Gas turbines based on jet engines allow power plants to quickly increase or decrease their electricity generation to compensate for variations in wind or solar power
19) Goldwind Science and Technology
Why: It is optimizing wind farms for conditions in China.
Key innovation: Wind turbines are specially adapted for the high altitudes and low wind speeds that characterize Chinese wind resources.
Why: Despite its lukewarm performance in social media, Google’s willingness to move into new areas shows it can still be an agenda-setter.
Key innovation: The introduction of Android 4.0 (also known as “Ice Cream Sandwich”), with its crowd-pleasing interface, confirms the company’s position as a major force in mobile computing.