Innovative < Expense Reduction Analysts

Each year, Fast Company 1 puts out its list of the most innovative companies. There are some names you’d expect to see right near the top, and some brands that you may be unknown. Regardless of a company’s ranking, consideration for the most innovative among businesses who are known for being progressive is an honor. And the good news for you: if you take a close look at the companies on the list, there are a few ideas you can pick up!

Apps are where it’s at

The number one company on the list is Meituan Dianping 2 , a Chinese app maker who helps with the booking and delivery of services like hotel stays and movie tickets. They have a variety of apps to help people complete transactions on their mobile devices and have done well because people continually rely on mobile apps to do the things they want to do each day – from getting to work to getting groceries. 

Smart companies leverage data analytics

Have you heard of StitchFix? They’re an e-commerce retailer who provides a clothing subscription service – but the secret to their success is a sophisticated data analytics engine. There were several companies on the list that provide a service that is dependent on the proper usage of data from their consumers. Being able to take existing data and use it to predict what your customers want is a crucial way to get ahead and get – and keep – new customers. 

Solve a problem

Two companies on the list couldn’t be more different – but they’re similar because they solve a consistent challenge for their users. 

Square is a payment processing solution that you’ve probably used before. They stand out because they have consistently made payments easier for the buyer and the seller. Their latest development is an all-in-one credit card machine with wireless connectivity and a touch screen. 

Sweetgreen is a casual, farm-to-table business that has 91 restaurants and an app that helps get food to people faster. They credit their “cult following” to being able to provide quick, easy, and healthy food to busy people who want nutritious options. Over the past decades, obtaining food quickly meant unhealthy fast food, and many consumers consider this a gap in the market. 

What do these companies have in common? They address real customer needs and solve a previously unresolved challenge. The biggest takeaway for other businesses? Create your offerings around a real gap in the market, solving problems that other solutions haven’t before. 

Meanwhile, many companies slipped in their innovative rankings. While some are making deliberate decisions to invest in future innovations, some are simply not making the impact on business and culture that they once did. Are you making the right moves to innovate in today’s volatile business world?

1 Fast Company
2 Meituan Dianping