10 of the Most Innovative Businesses in the US

By Mariliana Fotopoulou Monday, August 10, 2020

There are many businesses out there that have developed into renowned international companies. The majority of the companies started small and slowly grew into the unique companies that everyone knows about today.

Business innovation can be in any field, which is why there are opportunities for everybody. In order to celebrate that, here are ten of the most innovative businesses in the US.

Smartphone with the Airbnb app open.


Adobe, founded in 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke, specializes in computer software. Its headquarters are in San Jose, California. Popular Adobe programs include Photoshop, Illustrator, and Reader. In an interview with Forbes, Adobe’s Mala Sharma stressed that the company was a place “where the most important assets go home every night, where great ideas can come from anywhere, and where people would want to come to work and be their best selves.”

Indeed, Adobe is known to build innovation due to its employee ecosystem. Each employee plays a significant role in the company by providing ideas and receiving support on experimenting with their ideas. Their Adobe Labs program also builds on this collaborative environment, as it allows consumers to beta-test new products from the company.


Aetna is a health insurance company that provides mostly employer-paid insurance programs. Headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut, the current president of the company is Karen S. Lynch, and the CEO is Mark Bertolini.

In 2012, Aetna announced its Innovation Labs to find success in helping its patients. They ensure that clients and customers receive the best practice and processes for all results. In particular, the Aetna Innovation Labs have focused on making cancer treatments both effective and inexpensive. Their foray into “big data” is also meant to help focus less on analytics and more on patients.


San Francisco-based vacation rental company Airbnb was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk. Users can book vacation homes in over 190 countries, and they can interact with hosts if they have questions during their stay.

Outside of rentals, Airbnb created an in-house innovation design studio named Samara. The online marketplace is meant to find ways and explore innovative ideas to expand the company’s mission by taking up projects involved in architecture, design, hardware, and software engineering.


The massive ecommerce company Amazon is ubiquitous in its global reach. The online shopping company also has an inventive side with its Lab126 program. With Lab126, they come up with innovative ideas and development for new consumer electronic devices.

Amazon Lab126 is responsible for popular devices such as the Amazon Kindle, the Amazon Fire tablet, Amazon Fire TV, and the Echo.


Apple has reached the highest peak of success by being the first publicly traded US company to be valued as a trillion-dollar company. The company’s main headquarters is in Cupertino, California, and the technology company has multiple innovation centers worldwide.

Previous well-known innovations from Apple include the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the Apple Watch. Today, these innovation centers continue to help employees develop and create innovative ideas for the company.


Telecommunications and media company AT&T is based in Dallas, Texas. Their research division, AT&T Labs, is where engineers and scientists dedicate themselves to innovating ideas for the future.

Founded in 1996, the Labs program has been involved with a host of digital technology innovations, such as text-to-speech software, speech recognition software, and video processing software.

Capital One

Capital One specializes in credit cards, banking, and loans. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, the company is known for its technology-based finance services.

On their Capital One Labs website, they refer to themselves as “a startup with the financial backing of a Fortune 500 company.” Some of their public projects include machine learning infrastructure, fraud data visualization, and mobile application development for banking.

Cardinal Health

This Ohio-based health pharmaceutical company has been merging innovation and technology together to find success in health care. One 2014 article reported that Cardinal Health provided medical products to over 75% of hospitals in the US alone.

Cardinal Health’s innovation center, Fuse, touts a three-prong process: design thinking, lean innovation, and agile development. With this approach, they aim to improve patient care, advance medical treatments, and enabling patient data sharing.

Cisco Systems

Cisco is a networking hardware company that also specializes in software development and telecommunications. Through Cisco Investments, the company has a mission to empower the next generation of “disruptive startups.” Cisco Investments has over 40 investment professionals that identify new innovations worth exploring.

Additionally, Cisco has a Research Center focused on improving the internet. They provide grants to academic researchers, sponsor open source communities, and foster tech development worldwide with their “Co-Innovation Centers.”


Coca-Cola is not only the nation’s favorite drink, but it is one of the most purchased and popular soft drinks in the world. Founded in 1886 by John Stith Pemberton (and later bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler), the soft drink company has a collaboration with Georgia Tech, which is strategic and has implemented technology transfers. Incidentally, Coca-Cola’s current headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia.

According to a news release on the company’s website, Coca-Cola’s Transformational Innovation Team is currently working on expanding their beverages into new geographical locations and new markets. This includes following trends, such as “keto-friendly” and “organic” drinks.

About the Author

Mariliana Fotopoulou

Mariliana has an MSC in consumer analytics and business strategy. She has a special interest in fast-moving industries and big data.

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