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Fast Company

The web magazine that illustrates the directions that innovation is pursuing to improve the quality of our lives

Eden Creamery is an American company that produces low-calorie, high-protein ice creams - that does not force you to forego traditional flavours - which has just inaugurated a new line of milk-free products: it has changed the consumer’s approach to ice cream and these decisions have increased its turnover by one hundred million. Instead, with its technology applied to food safety, the company Safe Catch can scan any type of food to find problems: it used this technology to launch the first tuna guaranteed to have low mercury content. A2 Milk is one of the leading Australian brands of high quality cow’s milk and since many people are sensitive to the A1 protein, which can lead to a mistaken diagnosis of lactose intolerance, it only uses cows that naturally do not have the A1 protein, ensuring a highly digestible product.

This is not the advertising of individual companies, big and small, that boasts about product quality: these are just some of the companies working in the food industry that are in the Top 10 list developed by Fast Company, a web magazine that has an editorial focus on technological innovation, created in 1995 by Alan Webber and Bill Taylor, two former editors of the Harvard Business Review. It compiles a classification of the most technologically innovative companies in various sectors, ranging from architecture to food service, from bio-tech to energy, and from artificial intelligence to virtual reality. It also has sections dedicated to countries (China, India, Israel) and to entire continents (Africa). Reviewing the rankings provides an idea of driving sectors, commercial trends, and how technological innovation responds to the risks and needs of modern society: from the houses we live in to the food we eat. Including robots that guard the car.

If we take a look at the Top 10 in “Architecture”, we find ICRAVE, a firm of 34 New York architects who started out designing restaurants and bars, but who then specialised in reconsidering some of the gloomiest or most stressful places on earth, such as airports and hospitals. At the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the team changed waiting areas into welcoming co-working spaces. At JFK Airport it reinvented the JetBlue terminal, making it look like a New York street, complete with every convenience: for example, passengers can order food online and have it brought to the gate without worrying about missing their flights.

If we look at “Robotics”, we find Knightscope, which provides security for public places without human guards: from shopping centres to car parks. Last year, this company introduced two new robot-police officer models to the market: the K1, a robot that can detect weapons and other dangerous hidden objects, and the K7, a vehicle suitable for all types of terrain designed for complex environments like airports, prisons, or power plants.

In the “Healthcare” section, we discover Color, a company that uses a new-generation sequencing technology and simplified lab operations through its proprietary algorithms that allow a very economical test (just under USD 250) to analyse the genes closely linked to some of the most common hereditary cancers, including breast, ovarian, prostate and colorectal cancer. A newly-established research department of this company offers DNA sequencing services and analysis for researchers and patients who must perform clinical cancer studies.

Finally, moving to the countries section and looking at China, we can find, for example, DJI, a drone manufacturer that is the global leader in the creation and marketing of unmanned aircraft. In May 2017, this Chinese company introduced Spark, the first drone that users can easily control: an aircraft that is essentially a mini-camera that takes off from the palm of the hand. According to the NPD consulting firm - as related by Fast Company - DJI commands two thirds of the drone market in the United States alone.

Generali Vitality Gmbh is the business unit and competence center for the development of the Generali Vitality project in Europe to encourage and reward healthy behaviour for customers seeking a healthier lifestyle. The purpose of this educational prevention initiative is to encourage participants to improve their overall well-being condition, while also reducing expenses for medical care. In fact, there is a rewarding system for those who regularly exercise, maintain a good dietand make regular medical check-ups. From 2016 this program is available in Germany, France and Austria, and the extension to other countries is planned for the future. The company manages product development and program management throughout Europe.

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