Four Connecticut Companies Among Most Innovative in National Rankings

Four Connecticut companies are among the most innovative, according to rankings published by Fast Company magazine.  Harman Industries, Oxford Performance Materials, Priceline Group and GE were named among dozens of the companies, in a range of industries, for noteworthy innovative business practices and systems. Overall, the top 10 most innovative companies of 2016, according to Fast Company, are Buzzfeed, Facebook, CVS Health, Uber, Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Black Lives Matter and Taco Bell.  The next 10 include, Robinhood, Universal Studios, Huawei, Cyanogen, InMobi, Novocure, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Amgen, Spotify and company

Fast Company also announced Top 50 lists selecting the most innovative companies in more than two dozen sectors, including architecture, design, automotive, biotech, education, energy, fitness, enterprise software, gaming, healthcare, marketing & advertising, media, retail and robotics.

Stamford-based Harman International Industries reached the list of the most innovative companies in the world for vehicle technology, led by an auto sound system that creates individual “sound zones” within vehicles. Harman ranked seventh on the Fast Company ranking of the 10 most innovative companies in the automotive sector.HarmanLogo

According to published reports, Harman’s individual sound zone concept allows drivers and passengers to personalize their own audio experiences with limited disruption or interference from other vehicle occupants, with digital signal processing tuned to the vehicle cabin and speakers to reduce the signals from other zones, regardless of whether they are music, vocal or other sounds. The Harman system utilizes a vehicle’s existing speakersOPMlogo_no text with the addition of headrest and ceiling speakers.

A Connecticut-based biotechnology company, South Windsor-based Oxford Performance Materials (OPM), reached the biotechnology list, ranking seventh.  The company, founded in 2000, was recognized for developing spinal implants. OPM’s founder and CEO is Scott DeFelice.

A pioneer in personalized medicine, OPM Biomedical became the only company to receive FDA clearance to manufacture 3D printed patient‐specific polymeric implants when it received clearance for its cranial prostheses line for surgeons in 2013, the company website points out. The company reports it now has two additional FDA clearances, and is an original equipment manufacturer for maxillofacial implants as well as its first spinal implant line.The-Priceline-Group

In addition, Norwalk-based Priceline Group was recognized by Fast Company among hospitality companies for its hotel reservation system. The Priceline Group is the world’s leading provider of online travel & related services, provided to consumers and local partners in over 200 countries through six primary brands:,, KAYAK,,, and OpenTable.

Pratt & Whitney’s Caitlin Oswald Among Most Creative in U.S. Business for Propelling Jet Innovation

Pratt & Whitney additive manufacturing project manager Caitlin Oswald is one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business for 2015,” in a list compiled by Fast Company magazine featuring business and industry leaders well known – and some relatively obscure - from across the globe. The elite international list of scientists, fashion designers, app developers, architects and others from Nike, Evernote, IBM and Pepsico  and other well-known organizations are among those that Fast Company, the oft-cited media voice for innovation in business, keeps an eye on for the latest in technology and business models that have the potential to change the world.caitlin oswald photo

Oswald was recognized for her work in additive manufacturing, or "3D printing," especially as it has been applied to Pratt & Whitney's PurePower® Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) engine platform. She is credited with leading a team that incorporated additive manufacturing, specifically electron beam melting, through the development process and helping engineers approach challenges in a new way, according to the publication.sidebar-mcp-2015

As Fast Company explained Oswald’s business leadership:  “When a new fleet of Airbus regional jets take off later this year, they will feature something new under their wings: geared turbofan engines. Possibly the most sustainable jet engine ever built, the GTF will use 16 percent less fuel and significantly reduce CO2 emissions—a breakthrough that was only possible via advances in 3-D–printing technology.”

The publication indicated that “Caitlin Oswald led the team that incorporated 3-D printing into the design process, looking at each part of a jet engine to determine if it could be better developed with the new technique. As a result, engineers were able to approach challenges in a completely different way.”

"They’re able to print a part to scale and hold it in their hand," Oswald told Fast Company. "They can really understand what it looks like and what the capabilities and limitations are."

Added Oswald, a Design and Applied Technology Manager at Pratt & Whitney:  “This concept of additive manufacturing is this big, scary concept out there. Some people can take it and they look at it like it's the best thing since sliced bread and they're going to use it everywhere and let's forge ahead. Then there's the other side who thinks it's too risky; it's just a fad that's never going to gain any ground. My job is in this sweet spot where I'm able to take this big, scary concept and break it out into many bite-sized chunks.”

Pratt_&_WhitneyThe Fast Company top 10 include:  Charles Arntzen of Arizona State University’s Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology; Rajan Anandan, Google’s Vice President and Managing Director for India and Southest Asia; Dao Nguyen, publisher of Buzzfeed; Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of ProColombia; Jens Bergensten, lead creative designer for Minecraft; and Leslie Dewan, CEO of Transatomic Power.

Oswald ranked #30 on the list, between Barbara Bush and Tracy Young.  Bush, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, is co-founder and CEO of Global Health Corps.  Young is co-founder of PlanGrid, which developed a software product allows a large team to share a master set of blueprints, so that each team member can add their own markings and see their changes reflected in real time.FCLA

The magazine’s awards were presented to the Most Creative People in Business recipients at a Fast Company conference in Los Angeles recently. Said Oswald of the experience: “What I really enjoyed was learning about how people use their passion for creativity to drive their goals."

Read the Fast Company profile of Caitlin Oswald