Energized by Innovation

If you think the recession put a damper on budgets and new ideas in all organizations, you’re in for a surprise. Some bold companies didn’t let the downturn prevent them from discovering new revenue sources and revolutionary efficiencies through technology.

Energized by InnovationInformationWeek just released this year’s InformationWeek 500, recognizing the nation’s business technology leaders. It wasn’t easy to identify the movers and shakers, the publishers say, and they’re quick to heap praise on firms that are persevering.

There’s a thread that runs through the companies at the top of this year’s InformationWeek 500: relentless innovation. In the 21 years that we have ranked the nation’s business technology leaders, none has provided as many obstacles to innovation as this past year, with its ferocious recession. This year’s top InformationWeek 500 companies stand out for keeping the pressure on for new ideas that drive business results. In our ranking – and our company profiles, industry insights, and "great ideas" exchange – the InformationWeek 500 celebrates those with the vision and guts to keep innovating.

A short synopsis of a few companies recognized for their technology innovation:

It’s the first half of 2009, and unemployment’s rising to a 26-year high of 9.5%. Sound like the perfect time to launch an aggressive technology-driven product? It was for Progressive Insurance, which kicked off its "Name Your Price" Web site tool, letting customers build their own insurance policies, starting with what they think they can afford. It was for Coca-Cola, which tested a prototype fountain drink dispenser IT developed over two years with the company’s R&D team, letting consumers mix a variety of new flavors while aligning Coke with a select group of fast-food restaurants to analyze buying data and manage inventories better. And it was for CME Group, the world’s largest derivatives exchange, which partnered with Brazil’s top exchange to give traders electronic access to CME products, expanding CME’s global presence.

The report’s available as a free download for a limited time to registered site users. It’s a must read for techies looking to advance their careers, or a reason to reignite their creativity and passion for technology.

— Leslie Stevens-Huffman