From Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies List, here are the ten most innovative companies in productivity. All of these forward-thinking companies provide services that make life easier for the business professional. Dropbox, Box, and Evernote are especially helpful for research initiatives, via innovative document/content management and sharing.

1. Dropbox – “For stepping up its omnipresence in users’ lives through smart partnerships and acquisitions.”

2. Google – “For devising the artificially intelligent personal assistant.”

3. Box – “For tailoring an industry-specific cloud service to put businesses back in control of their documents.”

4. IFTTT – “For letting users automate the madness of all of their apps.”

5. SwiftKey – “For drawing the envy of iPhone users with its predictive Android keyboard app.”

6. Fancy Hands – “For assembling the future of on-demand labor.”

7. Any.do – “For elbowing through a crowd of to-do-list apps.”

8. Evernote – “For quietly jogging the memories of enterprise users and extending its brand into the analog world.”

9. Pocket – “For changing the way we ‘read it later.”‘

10. Moleskin – “For delighting creatives with digital collaborations.”

 

Photo Credit: Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, Reading Her Kindle, After Marty Cassatt, by Mike Licht

Photo Credit: Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, Reading Her Kindle, After Mary Cassatt, by Mike Licht

Whitney Grace at Beyond Search has written about a great site called Open Culture with the tagline,”The best free & educational media on the web.” This site has over 570 free eBooks you can legally download. Whitney highlights that all the works that make up the Harvard Classics are available. When you are on the home page, you are greeted with a slew of options for free courses (including business), free movies, free language lessons, free ebooks and texts, and free great lectures.

Ben Zigterman, writing for BGR, discusses a new search engine named Disconnect that “routes your searches through a proxy before the major search engines receive your request….This way, it looks to Google or Bing like the search request is coming from Disconnect and they never know any information about you.” It first launched last fall as a desktop browser plugin and now is launching as an Android app and a webpage.

Related post – DuckDuckGo and Search Engine Privacy

Thanks to Greg Behm of Four Steps Research for the heads up.

Quartz’s Max Nisen writes about a new online offering by Harvard Business School that breaks away from traditional education and MOOCs. Nisen writes:

“Rather than offering free courses to the masses or creating a full online degree, it’s rolling out a $1,500, two-month program targeted at college students and recent graduates. Though its new platform is inspired by social networks and gaming platforms, the core of the curriculum will be the 100-year-old, case study teaching method, which HBS is known for.”

The program is called CORe (Credential of Readiness) and has three courses: Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting. It is intended to provide a basic set of tools for those with little or no business experience.

“The moment where you doubt that you can fly, you cease for ever being able to do it.” – Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie

The simplicity of the writing in childrens’ books is what makes the words so powerful. This infographic, provided by Quotery.com, is filled with simple inspirational quotes for anyone, including business professionals.

infographic-childrens-book-quotes.jpg.pagespeed.ic.FM1HApCh03

Photo Credit: Commuter Train by John Walker

Photo Credit: Commuter Train by John Walker

Mashable’s Seth Fiegerman writes about a new IPhone app called Rooster, from digital publishing startup Plympton. Rooster “curates suggestions for books to read and then pushes the book out to users in timed installments. In essence, it functions like a book club for busy people.” The service is membership based, where users have access but do not own the books they read. Books are divided into 15 minute installments (based on average commute time). “Users can then schedule installments to be sent out at particular times and days, though there is always the option to go ahead to the next installment if you find yourself with another 15 minutes to spare.” The description on Plympton’s website states, “This spring, we’ll be launching a mobile reading app called Rooster to help make reading in short installments a seamless part of daily life, as habitual as checking email or playing casual games.”

Related post – Oyster: A New Digital Subscription Platform for Books

Entrepreneur.com contributor Brian Hamilton, chairman and co-founder of Sageworks, highlights three books that entrepreneurs will return to, again and again. Mr. Hamilton states, “While nothing can substitute for the experience of actually struggling to create, run and grow one’s own business, I genuinely believe that these books have helped me immensely as an entrepreneur.” Here they are:

Growing a Business, by Paul Hawken – The author “reduces something complicated (in this case, the essence of a running a business) to its very basic principles, without simplifying to the point of meaninglessness — this is the sign of a fantastic writer.”

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie – “Carnegie highlights how, in working with people, it doesn’t matter at all what you want; you must instead think about how the other person benefits.”

Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill – “… the first four to five chapters are really incredible, conveying the idea that thoughts are not intangible, but incredibly powerful things.”

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