Fast Company, one of the world's leaders in progressive business media, recently released a list of the top 50 innovative companies of 2015. Among them is Cree.
Even if you don't know the company by name, you likely know Cree's products: affordable LED light bulbs that have taken over the lighting section in any store.
Innovation is one thing, but reaching Cree's level of success is what counts. Their mission statement illuminates (pun intended) the reasons behind their success:
"Cree leads the LED lighting revolution and is making energy-wasting traditional lighting technologies obsolete through the use of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly LED lighting."
This brings to mind the old cliche: "Necessity is the mother of invention." Cree realizes the urgency of saving energy. In order to persuade customers to commit to changing their light bulb habits, they addressed the two most important parts of the equation:
Cree isn't the first to create and market earth-friendly lightbulbs, but they are the first to do it affordably. They saw that, as long as there was a significantly cheaper option, the average consumer wasn't about to replace their tried-and-true lightbulbs with something more green. The cost of that twinge of guilt in the gut was worth the alternative cost of tangible, hard-earned dollars.
Humans will always take the path that seems easiest. Even though we theoretically know the importance of switching over to earth-friendly products, we will likely reject anything that seems foreign or requires a manual. Screwing in a lightbulb is the same thing no matter how energy efficient it is. That makes it easy to choose the greener option.
Though we all like to think we're earth-concious, Cree worked with the truth: the majority of people are earth-conscious as long as it's easy. Cree deserves its recognition as a highly innovative company because it's helping save the planet by making it easy for the rest of us to help save the planet.