MIT Technology Review has announced its eagerly awaited “50 Smartest Companies” winners list. And the new rankings are loaded with surprises for investors and technology mavens of all stripes.
Each year we identify 50 companies that are “smart” in the way they create new opportunities. Some of this year’s stars are large companies, like Amazon and Alphabet, that are using digital technologies to redefine industries. Others are wrestling with technological changes: companies like Microsoft, Bosch, Toyota, and Intel. Also on the list are ambitious startups like 23andMe, a pioneer in consumer-accessible DNA testing; 24M, a reinventor of battery technology; and Didi Chuxing, a four-year-old ride-hailing app that’s beating Uber in the Chinese market. Still, despite the excitement of recent advances in such fields as artificial intelligence and genomic medicine, technology has failed to energize the overall economy. In our opening essay, we explore why that is so and what needs to change.