The Future of Innovation: a CNBC.com Special Report

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    A Booz & Company study found that companies whose innovation strategies are clearly aligned with their business and culture goals delivered 17-percent higher profit growth over five-year periods than those lacking such tight alignment.

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    While some believe government intervention in health-care reform is the only way forward, there are already health-care organizations around the country that can deliver better quality care at a lower cost.

  • Thinking

    Innovators question the status quo, observe like anthropologists, network for new ideas, and experiment. In short, innovators consistently act differently to think differently.

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    A growing number of parents and educators are leveraging technology to transform grade-school education into a stay-at-home, online experience, partly because of shrinking public budgets and curricula.

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    Necessity no longer seems to be the mother of invention. The disposable consumer society has facilitated rapid-paced innovation that has blurred the line between good and bad.

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    Invention and innovation can change how an economy, a company, even the human body, works — quickly and profoundly. Our special report, "The Future of Innovation," is about defining innovation in the 21st century, and seeking out where it is alive and well in America.

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    Audi and MIT have teamed up to create  a website that tells users how the roadways and drivers’ moods in their city compare to others nationwide and how urban planners can improve the transportation system.Index findings can tell planners which road segments to improve for the most efficient results. It can also reveal how drivers change their motoring routines when they have more information

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    What a terrible time to try to sell an innovation. Oh, for the boom years of a decade ago, when investment capital was as plentiful as the dew.

  • Charlotte, North Carolina

    The city of Charlotte, N.C. and a handful of major companies are hoping cutting-edge technology can show 82,000 workers in the biggest downtown office towers how to save energy

  • Future of Innovation - See Complete Coverage

    As the pace of innovation quickens, finding an edge is becoming harder.  How can the U.S. nurture innovation?

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    As the landscape of innovation becomes increasingly global, there's growing concern that the U.S is no longer the leader.

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    Great new ideas are only the first link in a chain that includes government and corporate allies in an economy that supports risk.

  • Future of Innovation - See Complete Coverage

    Depending on whom you ask, there's divergence about which entrepreneur, brand, and product is the most innovative — as technology strikes a different chord with each generation.

  • Peter Thiel, founder of the Theil Foundation and is a technology entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist.

    Some of the the best tech innovators are college dropouts. Now one of them is paying aspiring ones to quit school and brainstorm.  Peter Thiel's fellowship program is now underway.

  • ChotuKool, the world's cheapest refrigerator, launched by Indian conglomerate Godrej and Boyce

    With so much need that must be met, businesses with that “bigger is always better” mentality are struggling with how to capture all of the opportunity.

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  • Education

    For the first time in roughly a century — since the transition from the one-room schoolhouse to the classroom- and age-based school — a dramatic change in the basic way we structure our educational system is afoot.

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    Many would-be innovators have misconceptions about the process of innovation itself. Here, we review some common myths of innovation and separate fiction from fact.   

  • In our annual CNBC rankings of our   is among the most important measures of success. States like to promote themselves as fertile ground for innovation, so we put those claims to the test. The category ranks states based on their support for innovation, with metrics including the number of patents issued to their residents, the dollar value of federal health and science research grants and deployment of broadband services rankings, per the FCC. Click ahead to see the leaders in innovation.

    States like to promote themselves as fertile ground for innovation — so we put those claims to the test. Click ahead to see the leaders in innovation.

  • Innovation has come at such a dizzying pace in recent decades that it has transformed our world in ways once only imagined in science fiction. As part of our "Future of Innovation" special report, we decided to take a look at some of the most influential innovations of the recent past. Compiling a definitive list turned out to be difficult, if not impossible — and almost certainly up for fierce debate. Nevertheless, we gave it a shot. Here is our list of the 15 of the most influential inventions

    Here is our list of the 15 of the most influential inventions over the past 50 years, created using a variety of studies as reference points, including ones from Knowledge@Wharton and Popular Mechanics.