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Kate Hutchinson, Montreal
Currently principal researcher at Microsoft Research (MSFT) (and, it should be said, a regular Bloomberg/BusinessWeek columnist), Buxton, 60, brings a whole host of forces to play in his design practice. Having started out as a composer and performer (even designing his own digital musical instruments), he later specialized in human-computer interaction, working at organizations such as Xerox PARC (XRX) and Alias/Wavefront. For Buxton, a product's form is just one relatively uninteresting part of the design equation. Instead, he looks to introduce human values, culture, and technology into his work and spreads his ideas through tireless writing, research, speaking, and teaching.