Fast Company's Top 100 Creative Business Geniuses

What does it take to be named among the Top 100 most creative people in business today? In examining the latest list issued today by Fast Company it appears agility and the ability to think in new and innovative ways are prized attributes.


1. Wadah Khanfar

Topping the list is Wadah Khanfar, director general of the Arab news service Al Jazeera, which turned to Twitter, the 140-word social-media instant-messaging service, to disseminate news after President Hosni Mubarak jammed the network's satellite signal and prevented most Egyptians from watching the channels coverage. Khanfar's efforts in building an international news network that deploys both cutting-edge social media and old-fashioned reporting has empowered the people of the Middle East, Fast Company says.

Choosing Khanfar, ahead of innovative leaders at Apple Inc. (Scott Forstall, No. 2) and Google (Sebastian Thrun, No. 5), is a testament to the Al Jazeera editorial director's unorthodox approach to news, Fast Company executive editor Rick Tetzeli tells Reuters.

"He had done something over the last year that was very current, very public and really astounding when looked at by an American audience that doesn't get to see what he does much on television," Tetzeli says.




2. Scott Forstall

As senior vice president of iPhone software at electronic-gadget maker Apple, Scott Forstall is the chief architect of iOS, the industry-defining operating system that runs on more than 160 million iPhones, iPads and iPods. The company's slick designs may grab the headlines whenever Steve Jobs introduces a new product, Fast Company says, but it's Forstall's smart software that fills Apple's coffers.




3. Yuri Milner

Russian venture-capitalist Yuri Milner has done a lot of things right in the word of business, namely founding Mail.ru Group, the largest Internet company in the Russian-speaking world. He then put his money behind American up-and-comers Zynga, Facebook, and Groupon and has invested in a fund to help new-technology start-ups.




4. Jack Dorsey

Dorsey is in the forefront of helping people communicate and make paying for things both inventive and easier. Dorsey, executive chairman at Twitter, is also CEO of Square, a new service that let's anybody accept credit-card payments with their iPhones. "Payments are a form of communication that could be better designed, less burdensome," Dorsey says.




5. Sebastian Thrun

Having lost both a childhood friend when he was a child and a co-worker last year, Google's Sebastian Thrun has taken on a personal mission to end deaths caused by vehicle accidents. Both crashes were avoidable, Thrun says, which is why he's developing unmanned robotic cars that drive more safely. "I'm in service of humanity," he says.




6. Guo Pei

Of all the products and services emerging from China, high fashion isn't the first thing to come to mind. But designer Guo Pei wants to change that. The 44-year-old visionary has since blazed a trail, building her Rose Studio into a fashion powerhouse.




7. Sal Khan

Kids in U.S. classrooms have long struggled with the basics of math, and Sal Khan is making learning dividing fractions and other computations easier by turning mathematics into a game. Students learn to solve problems at their own pace, using a computer program that gives them instant feedback, charts their progress and rewards them when they get 10 correct answers in a row. Khan says his nonprofit Khan Academy's mission is "to deliver a world-class education to anyone anywhere." And he's got the backing of some of the richest donors in the world, such as Bill Gates.




8. Conan O'Brien

Yes, he got fired from "The Tonight Show" in a rather ugly and very public falling out with Jay Leno and NBC, but Conan O'Brien is on the comeback trail, having created a nightly comedy show on cable network TBS. Though the network's budget isn't quite as ample as other cable networks (namely, HBO), O'Brien has proven during the past seven months since his show debuted that he can draw younger viewers than his broadcast rivals, thanks largely to his smart comedy.




9. Jim Yong Kim

Frustrated by poorly executed health-care delivery systems in developing nations, Jim Yong Kim began an initiative at Dartmouth College to study the best health systems and practices. Kim, president of the New Hampshire-based university, believes the initiatives could improve health-care quality and lower costs as much as 30 percent.




10. Arianna Huffington

The $315 million merger earlier this year of AOL and the Huffington Post raised a lot of eyebrows across the media landscape. The resulting company -- the Huffington Post Media Group -- is run by Arianna Huffington, who leads a group of 1,300 journalists who write and report for the company's numerous websites (including AOL Jobs). The merger and Huffington's extensive network of powerful people, Fast Company says, may be just the thing for Huffington, who believes in "'the power of using narrative to connect with people.'"

-- See the full list of 100 Most Creative People in Business

Next: Success Tips From Harvard's First African-American Female MBA


Stories from CNN Money


David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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