Innovation plays a significant role in the success of any economy. Successful companies not only respond to their current customer but often anticipate future trends and develop ideas, products or services that allows them to meet this future demand rapidly and effectively. In a broader sense, innovation is important to the advancement of society around the world.
These are some of the greatest innovators of the last thirty years.
1. Steve Jobs. The iconic American entrepreneur and founder of Apple will go down in history as one of the great innovators. As CEO of Apple in the 1980s and again in the late 90s and 2000s, Jobs played a central role in the personal computer revolution and in developing its key products, including the McIntosh, the iPod and the iPhone.
2. Larry Page. Co-founder and current CEO of Google, Page is leading one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world, perhaps in history.
3. Sergey Brin. The multi-billionaire co-founder of Google, Brin has been involved with some of the the company’s most innovative technologies including Google Glass, and Google’s self-driving cars.
4. Bill Gates. One of the great businessman/philanthropists of the last century, Gates founded and built Microsoft into an unmatched software behemoth before leaving to state the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, a multi-billion dollar philanthropic enterprise working to enhance global healthcare and reduce poverty.
5. Reid Hoffman. Founder of the pioneering social networking website, LinkedIn. Hoffman is a Silicon Valley veteran who was also COO of Paypal.
6. Richard Branson. The colorful and creative British founder of Virgin Group is one of the most successful businessmen of our time, as well as a billionaire philanthropist and humanitarian.
7. Jeffrey Grossman. The Carl Richard Soderberg Associate Professor of Power Engineering at MIT, Grossman has done pioneering work and research on materials science, including photovoltaics and nanotechnology.
8. Ray Kurzweil. Revolutionary futurist, celebrated inventor, innovative researcher, and bestselling author, Kurzweil received the 1999 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and is currently Director of Engineering at Google working in the field of artificial intelligence.
9. Marc Benioff. Founder of the software company Salesforce, Benioff has been a innovator in changing the nature of enterprise software in business.
10. Tim Brown. CEO and President of IDEO, the pioneering international design firm, Brown is a global expert on the nature of innovation in business, technology, and design.
11. Martine Rothblatt. Founder of United Therapeutics, a medical biotech company as well as a founder of Sirius Satellite Radio. Rothblatt’s technologically pioneering work has included innovations in space sceince, satellites, the human genome project. She has also been an activist in the transhumanist movement.
12. Larry Ellison. Co-founder and CEO of Oracle, Ellison is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world and has been a long-time pioneer and innovator in the software industry.
13. Michael Dell. Founder and CEO of Dell Computers, Dell changed the personal computer industry with his innovative business methods and pioneering use of e-commerce.
14. Hiroshi Mikitani. Mikitani is co-founder and CEO of Rakutan, Japan’s largest e-commerce company with a focus on empowering merchants with exceptional service.
15. Jony Ive. A world renowned product designer, Ive is the person responsible for many of the Apple’s most innovative and pioneering designs, including the iPhone, the iPad and the Macbook.
16. Robert De Pera. Robert Pera is the founder of Ubiquiti Networks, a pioneering wireless technology company serving the world’s emerging markets.
17. Jeff Bezos. Founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Bezos is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, and the man who revolutionized e-commerce.
18. Marissa Mayer. The current CEO of Yahoo, Mayer was the first female engineer at Google, and at 33 was the youngest on Forbes list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.
19. Shai Agassi. Israeli entrepreneur Agassi was the founder of the unsuccessful but innovative company Better Place, which pioneered a unique battery switching technology for electric cars. While this endeavor didn’t quite work, I am excited to see what Shai brings to the world next.
20. Salman Khan. Founder of the Khan Academy, a free, nonprofit online education platform, Khan’s mission is to provide a “world class education for anyone, anywhere.”
21. Dean Kamen. An American inventor and entrepreneur, Kamen invented the pioneering transportation vehicle the Segway.
22. Elon Musk. A co-founder of Paypal, Musk went on to found the electric car company Tesla, and the space technology company SpaceX.
Originally shared at The Startup Guide.