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Preview: 'Fast Company' Names Top 50 Innovators

Andrew Fisher
Friday, 15 Feb 2008 | 12:28 PM ET

Fast Company Magazine is issuing its annual list of the world's 50 most innovative companies.

Many are firms centered outside the U.S., and many are privately held, but three of the top five among the "Fast 50" are publicly held, including top finisher Google , runner-up Apple , and CNBC.com parent General Electric , which finished fourth. Rounding out the top five are the social-networking site Facebook and design firm Ideo.

Among those farther down the list are office-chair maker Herman Miller

, at number 26, and iRobot, at number 31.

"Everyone knows the Aeron chair and the other office furniture," Fast Company staff writer Anya Kamenetz told CNBC.

"Herman Miller has a secret R&D op in Michigan, and last year, they created Convia, which is a new type of programmable system, a point-and-click system for electronics in an office...a high-tech personal office environment."

Fast Company: Innovators
The world's 50 most innovative companies in its upcoming issues, with Anya Kamenetz, Fast Company and CNBC's Erin Burnett

Kamenetz says iRobot has also branched out from its signature product, in this case the unique Roomba vacuum cleaner.

"They have a robot that they created," she said. "They're sending about 3,000 of them to Iraq and Afghanistan, and it clears caves...it shoots audio, video, it clears out the land mines."

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