What are a few (3-5) distros you think are doing new and innovative things for the Linux desktop?
For me I would probably say (in no particular order)
I think the KDE team has been doing a great job lately when it comes to understanding how to make a cohesive desktop that is functional and feature rich, but also lean on resources. I know that you can install Plasma on any distro, but KDE Neon and Kubuntu both have great implementations. Personally, I think FerenOS has the best KDE implementation, on top of having wonderful tools to get a regular user get up and running.
I think the team behind ZorinOS knows what Linux needs to become more popular in the market. Zorin Ultimate is great to give new users who would need a little bit of guidance in finding Linux software and Zorin Grid is great for massive deployments. I really appreciate what the team behind ZorinOS is doing.
As much as I think Manjaro is the new “Arch btw” meme, I cannot deny that they have made Arch easy to install and easier to maintain with better stability, all while having an absolutely gorgeous color scheme. And having those bleeding edge releases makes it great for gamers who just want to play with the best drivers out there.
Runners up (because I didn’t want to have 3 Ubuntu based distros in my post):