Think about companies and products that have shown up on your radar within the past five years. Did you have Instagram five years ago? Would you have known what a GoPro was or what it did five years ago? What about other forms of technology like FitBit, Snapchat or Tinder? These are pretty tech-framed examples, but this is only a smattering of products that have put a mark on pop culture and the world in recent years.
Every year, more and more companies put out products and services that help shape our lives, whether it’s by producing the aforementioned technology or creating innovations in the world of industry that make our lives better, whether we know it or not. It’s possible that some of the biggest and best inventions and innovations of the millennium will come out this year – it might sound unlikely, but they have to happen sometime, right? Why not now?
It’s more likely than ever that companies will continue to make ground breaking advances in many fields this year, and these 12 companies are likely to do it bigger than anyone else.
As much as newer social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter seem more en vogue if the media has anything to say about it, Facebook still wins the connectivity race with over 1.5 billion active users flocking to the social network every month.
11 Cisco Systems
It’s a hard time for the entire Middle Eastern part of the world right now, and you probably need no explanation why. Between war, government takeovers and terrorism threatening millions of lives every day, it’s hard for normal and everyday processes to occur natural in these countries. War doesn’t help your economy much when you’re the country being used as the battle ground.
It might be hard to think about a credit card company as a good guy – and remember, this list is about changing the world, not necessarily making it a better place. MasterCard, however, is succeeding at doing both and will likely continue to do so in the coming year.
Renewable resources and clean power are two of the hot button items in the world of innovation right now. In this day and age, where there is so much discussion of global warming, toxic emissions and environmental protection, those who harness the most clean energy are the ones who rule, and change, the world.
It’s likely you’ve either driven or ridden in a Toyota – and if that’s not the case, it’s impossible for you to not have at least seen one in your lifetime. One such vehicle you’re probably familiar with is the Toyota Prius, known for being innovative as the first truly successful hybrid car with the intent of helping reduce emissions in the auto industry. Unbelievably, the idea took off, and now green cars are becoming more common. Who’d have thought, right?
7 Novo Nordisk
What’s more world-changing than healing the globe? Novo Nordisk, the Danish drug manufacturer, had an idea in the mid-90's to start helping out in a country that was greatly suffering from a diabetes outbreak. No, not America – China. The United States has plenty of diabetics, but China's numbers were around 100 million.
You likely know what Kickstarter is, and therefore you’re familiar with crowdfunding. If not, let’s get you up to speed really quick: crowdfunding is where the public at large donates money to instigate a product, event, or cause, and Kickstarter is the most popular site to do this on online. Crowdfunding in general has become a very huge phenomena and has changed the way the entire business industry thinks recently.
Yes, Starbucks is indeed changing the world by making delicious coffee drinks and desserts that wake us up in the morning, but that’s not all they do. Starbucks is honestly a global phenomenon, with over 20,000 stores across the world. With this kind of size, it’s hard to imagine that all of their items are ethically sourced. This is the kind of problem big businesses run into when they get large but want to keep costs low – unethical acquisition just pays more.
As one of the biggest and well-known shopping centers in the world, and certainly the biggest and most well-known in America, Walmart is certainly a contender for this list as they make strides and innovations to service almost constantly. Not only does the company sell products at low prices, they also help make sustainable items that don’t cost any more than their predecessor.
Malaria probably isn’t on your radar in countries that are well developed and medically innovative. When’s the last time you heard someone just happening upon malaria in the US or being stung by an infected mosquito in the U.K.? However, many third-world and developing nations still have a problem with the deadly disease, enough to kill over half a million people every year.
Not every company can say they literally changed the face of a nation, but these two can. Based in the U.K. and Kenya respectively, Vodafone and Safaricom originally started a mobile-money platform in 2007. The idea behind the service, called M-Pesa, was that anyone without a bank account could still exchange commerce via the app that allowed for transferring money in order to pay bills or handle cash without actually holding print bills and coins.
It would honestly be a travesty to not include Google as the number one spot-holder on a list of companies changing the planet. Maybe they’ve already done so much for the world that you think they shouldn’t count, but Google isn’t letting up anytime soon. Not just an Internet search engine, Google has entirely changed to world of technology as we see it, and they’ll continue to do so far into the future.
It’s hard to say exactly what Google’s going to be doing to change the world within the next year, or even ten years, simply because their reach is so vast. We’re thoroughly enjoying all of the products and features that have changed the entire face of technology and the Internet, so we’re sure to like everything else they come up with. Between the help of services like Earth and Translate, the world is shrinking – and it’s changing every day.
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