Breakthrough progress requires faith, courage, and perseverance. As the year draws to a close, we take a look back at the companies that managed to challenge customers’ expectations in 2014 and make remarkable contributions to the industries they operate in. Check out this article for a short list of innovative companies that managed to stand out from the crowd during the last 12 months.

It takes guts to pursue a goal that involves remaking an industry or changing consumer habits. Innovation doesn’t happen overnight. Fear of failure and economic challenges can easily prevent a company from attempting to achieve the unachievable. However, the companies that successfully shape their corporate environment so that innovation is possible are the ones that everyone will be looking up to at the end of the day. They become industry leaders, forward thinkers, the ones to beat.

What makes a company innovative? A unique and relevant strategy, an environment of trust, and enough autonomy to follow their own paths to achieving their goals. At the end of 2014, let’s take a look back at the enterprises that managed to stay one step ahead from the competition and ended up making a difference in today’s technology-shaped world.


When it comes to innovative companies, Google always leads the list. That’s not surprising, given that fact that we’re talking about the most successful Internet company of our time. Even though people mostly know the company as a search engine and advertising platform, the bright minds behind Google are constantly pursuing projects that could reinvent both the company and the world.

Google currently works on many spin-off projects that could turn out to be life-changing. Calico, for instance, tackles the process of aging and attempts to harness advanced technologies in order to extend the human lifespan. Google presented a new prototype of their driverless car this year, that has neither a steering wheel nor pedals. Google Fiber is slowly and steadily gaining popularity. All in all, a great year for the tech tycoon.


Thanks to Illumina, reading all of our DNA will soon be cheap enough to be used for pinpointing medical problems and identifying treatments. This after the company broke the “sound barrier” of sequencing. The new HiSeq X Ten Sequencing System, their latest machine, can transcribe 18,000 human genomes a year for only $1,000 per genome. As a comparison, when the human genome’s three billion molecular pairs were first fully transcribed, back in 2003, the project, although a success, ended up costing $2.7 billion – meaning that the first genomes were hundreds of millions of dollars apiece. It’s a staggering achievement.

“The HiSeq X Ten should give us the ability to analyze complete genomic information from huge sample populations. Over the next few years, we have an opportunity to learn as much about the genetics of human disease as we have learned in the history of medicine,” said Eric Lander, professor of biology at MIT. Researchers will now be able to do large-scale studies that will hopefully lead to more precise understanding of diseases and come up with more effective and personalized treatments.


Metabolix is a bioplastics technology development and commercialization company founded in 1992. The company broke ground this year by presenting data which showed that their biobased PHA copolymers deliver key performance improvements in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polylactic acid (PLA) compounds, for a variety of industrial and consumer applications.

This helped Metabolix consolidate its position as global leader in the development of industrial products and processes from path-breaking research in the field of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). The company continues to make significant advances in the development of their Mirel biobased performance additives, fighting to make plastic green. 


There are plenty of startups that had an amazing year. One stands out from the crowd though. Airbnb is on its way to becoming the world’s largest hotelier without owning a single hotel. The startup surpassed 10 million stays on its platform and doubled its listings to 550,000, in 192 countries. Earlier in 2014, the company closed on an investment of $450 million by TPG Capital, at a valuation of approximately $10 billion.

Airbnb is also opening its first standalone call center in the United States, in Portland, Oregon. The Airbnb U.S. based customer experience team will have 250 members.


By introducing iPhone 5S and its fingerprint sensor, Apple took mobile security to a whole new level. Touch ID allows users to unlock their device with just a light touch; plus, you can use the sensor to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store.

In 2014, Apple also started building its own content delivery network. Until now, the company relied on outside vendors to deliver apps and updates to users and to handle the iCloud service. Having its own content delivery network will allow Apple more control over the user experience.

All these companies showed they have innovation built into their DNA; and innovation is a powerful tool that enables enterprises to achieve unique goals. To nurture innovation, they created the right corporate environment, by encouraging employees to speak up and allowing them to fail before they finally succeed. Here’s to an even more inventive 2015!