Emily Jacobi, Digital Democracy
With the OccupyVotes platform, Jacobi and her peers at Digital Democracy have created a platform that reveals the priorities of a movement that notoriously won't list its demands.

Emily Jacobi, Digital Democracy
With the OccupyVotes platform, Jacobi and her peers at Digital Democracy have created a platform that reveals the priorities of a movement that notoriously won't list its demands.

Malik Rahsaan, Occupy the Hood
Rahsaan started Occupy the Hood to get people of color actively involved in the Occupy movement, bringing community-level issues to a national stage.

Malik Rahsaan, Occupy the Hood
Rahsaan started Occupy the Hood to get people of color actively involved in the Occupy movement, bringing community-level issues to a national stage.

Andy Dao and Ivan Cash, Occupy George
For these designers, the medium is truly the message: By stamping Occupy-related facts and figures on dollar bills, they show solidarity with the movement and annoy banks at the same time.

Andy Dao and Ivan Cash, Occupy George
For these designers, the medium is truly the message: By stamping Occupy-related facts and figures on dollar bills, they show solidarity with the movement and annoy banks at the same time.

Andy Dao and Ivan Cash, Occupy George
For these designers, the medium is truly the message: By stamping Occupy-related facts and figures on dollar bills, they show solidarity with the movement and annoy banks at the same time.

Jan Wampler, MIT
The MIT architecture professor, along with student and alumni volunteers and, of course, Occupiers themselves, has helped design housing structures that can keep protesters warm in the winter.

Jan Wampler, MIT
The MIT architecture professor, along with student and alumni volunteers and, of course, Occupiers themselves, has helped design housing structures that can keep protesters warm in the winter.

Isaac Wilder, Free Network Foundation
The Free Network Foundation helps make the Internet and communication tools used by Occupy movements more efficient and accessible among their users, not controlled by a centralized power.

Isaac Wilder, Free Network Foundation
The Free Network Foundation helps make the Internet and communication tools used by Occupy movements more efficient and accessible among their users, not controlled by a centralized power.

Joan Donovan, Interoccupy
Donovan works on interoccupation communications, linking various local Occupy movements and connecting individual groups with celebrities, such as Sean Penn.

Joan Donovan, Interoccupy
Donovan works on interoccupation communications, linking various local Occupy movements and connecting individual groups with celebrities, such as Sean Penn.

Benjamin Phillips, Occupy Oakland
An Air Force veteran of the Iraq war, Phillips leverages his marketing and social-media expertise to facilitate accessible technology for all members of Occupy Oakland.

Benjamin Phillips, Occupy Oakland
An Air Force veteran of the Iraq war, Phillips leverages his marketing and social-media expertise to facilitate accessible technology for all members of Occupy Oakland.

07_Occupy Movement

FOR EMBODYING ALL THE TRAITS THAT MAKE A FAST COMPANY

SHEN TONG, A LONGTIME VETERAN OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS DATING BACK TO CHINA’S TIANANMEN SQUARE

Disruptive. Small-d democratic. Transparent. Tech savvy. Design savvy. Local and global. Nimble. Values-driven. No matter your gut reaction to what has sprung out of a seemingly sketchy September landing on New York’s Zuccotti Park, the Occupy movement is spiritually akin to the innovative companies we laud elsewhere on this list and in each issue. Square, for example, is working to disrupt an established trillion-dollar payment infrastructure that puts the little guy at a disadvantage. Occupy, meanwhile, is challenging a political, financial, and social establishment that has resulted in income inequality and puts most Americans at a disadvantage. Both attempt to make a more fair future. Click on the slideshow above, then for another slideshow of people arrested at Occupy movements, click here. Even as a fledgling startup, Occupy has meaningfully changed the global conversation on austerity measures, putting greater focus on how these initiatives may disproportionately harm the bulk of a populace. Like a startup employing technology as a competitive weapon, the Occupy movement has used tech tools to support, amplify, and connect participants. It's also a model. "My playbook is from the development of the Internet, harnessing the energy of the web, managed chaos," says Shen Tong, Occupy Wall Street's philosopher-in-residence. "That's the new organizing principle. The Internet really helps shape a dominant culture that makes this kind of thinking much easier." The venture capitalist Fred Wilson has written that entrepreneurs are likely onto something big when they're mocked and misunderstood. It's but one measure, but Occupy's initial public offering, if you will, puts it in very good company. Facebook and Twitter, to name but two examples, are still ridiculed in some corners as frivolous time-wasters, even after the significant role they've played in innumerable political, charitable, and business initiatives. It's telling that tech companies--or any socially responsible firms that try to balance values with profits--are noticeably absent from the organizations that Occupy attacks. These pages showcase a handful of the frontline innovators in the Occupy movement and how they've employed creative means to advance their cause. Fast companies aren't perfect, of course. But far more often than not, they're part of the solution, not the problem. Just like meaningful citizen protest.

Photographs by Greg Miller Video Art by Christopher Silas Neal Video Animation by Christopher Papa

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2 Comments

  • libertysteeth

    I could not disagree more, all I remember about the occupy movement was a bunch of dirty anarchists got together and squatted in a city park until the drugs and money ran out. What change did they affect? Furthermore, the problem with chaos is that it always strives to find order again. I noticed the author is the Fast Company staff, I guess no one individual wanted to own this.