In their quest to bring out better products and services, companies often have to often innovate in unchartered territories. Many times, they reach a dead end, but other times they create technology that stands to change the face of their entire sector. MIT’s Technology Review has come out with a list of 50 ‘disruptive’ companies that stand to make such wide-reaching changes to their respective industries in 2013. Some companies on the list (not ranked in any order) innovate in areas that directly affect their business—Amazon, for example, with its same-day delivery feature, or Philips’ innovations in making LED lights more affordable. Such innovations have a direct effect on competitors, forcing them to catch-up to stay in the race. Other innovations, such as Apple improving mobile display technology by extending its Retina display from small screens to MacBooks and iPads, come about as a matter of course. Nevertheless, they provide the stepping stone for the entire industry to advance. Yet other companies almost stumble into this list—Google, for example, makes the list simply because it designed Android, which has overwhelmingly become the mobile OS of choice.
The best, and potentially most far-reaching innovations, however, are those that create a whole new industry around them. The best example of this is SpaceX, which almost single-handedly launched the private space-flight business, opening huge avenues in terms of space tourism and mining on asteroids for precious metals. The most heartening feature of MIT’s list, however, is the importance it gives innovations in green technologies (12 of the 50 companies work in this field), an indication of the growing importance and viability of going green.