This week, the publication Fast Company released its annual survey it calls the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in the world.
Here is the top 10:
#6 First Solar
That’s just the Top 10. Disney is #20. Cisco (#17) and Twitter (#50) are on the Top 50 too. So is Grey New York (#24), the advertising genius that makes the commercials with the E-Trade baby. Nike (#13) , Netflix (#12), and the Indian Premier League that televises international cricket matches(#22)– all on the list.
So how do you get on the list? Fast Company says:
Even in these tough times, surprising and extraordinary efforts are under way in businesses across the globe. From politics to technology, energy, and transportation; from marketing to retail, health care, and design, each company on the list illustrates the power and potential of innovative ideas and creative execution.
There you have it. Innovative ideas and creative execution.
I noticed that El Milagro was not on the list. I noticed, in fact, that there are no schools on the list. Not the KIPP schools or High Tech High or Kaplan University. In fact, I noticed “education” wasn’t even mentioned in the quote above. Education is rarely mentioned in the same breath as “innovation”.
Politics… technology… energy… transportation… marketing… retail… health care… design… that is where Fast Company goes for examples of innovative organizations. And rightly so.
This past week there were protests across the state of California and around the nation to shine the light on inevitable budget cuts in schools. I stood on the lawn of the capital building in Sacramento and watched. There was a rabble of a couple thousand activists with hand made placards and signs and hippies playing percussion instruments trying to resurrect some of the energy of the 60’s. Good luck. I assumed that many in the crowd were educators who had called in for a sub in order to be out on the lawn protesting about the loss of funding to public education. $100 per sub.
In the comments section of the Fast Company blog on their 50 Most Innovative Companies I was struck by this quote:
“In times of economic crisis, chaos, and rising strains on system designs, innovative organizations have the edge.”
And this one:
“Changes create movement. Movement create action. Action creates Innovation.”
And finally… this one:
“Innovation is not the result but the way we act. The result is a consequence of our acts. If you keep doing it the same way, we will get always the same results. The companies that are shaping and will shape the future are the ones that are not afraid to try different things, different actions. Those actions are the ones that will shape our future.”
Instead of innovating, the rabble was chanting on the Capitol lawn while the governor was off speaking to the Charter Schools Conference. But no worries. Even though he missed their presentation, he can pick it up on Hulu (#11) and enjoy it at his leisure… maybe over a bowl of Fritos (#28).
For our own part, at El Milagro we are going to navigate through the crisis and get on next year’s list of the Top 50 Most Innovative Organizations.