25 reasons to play hooky and come to the Fast Company Innovation Festival

More than 300 speakers, 150 events, and thousands of attendees will take over New York City for #FCFESTIVAL, October 22–-26

25 reasons to play hooky and come to the Fast Company Innovation Festival

The Fast Company Innovation Festival is back for its fourth year and is poised to be bigger and better than ever. This year’s lineup promises to inspire, energize, and excite. There’s something for everyone, with a wide array of thought-provoking panels and unique events. International leaders in business, design, and culture will share their insights alongside Fast Company editors onstage at the renowned 92nd Street Y (1395 Lexington Ave.) on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Specially themed networking opportunities and panel discussions will take place at Convene (237 Park Ave.), an imaginative event space conveniently located next to Grand Central Station that’s ideal for meaningful connections, illuminating live journalism, and immersive experiences.


Festival attendees can also participate in more than 100 Fast Tracks, Fast Company‘s popular field trips that go inside the labs, studios, and offices of New York’s most cutting-edge companies.

But if you need some more convincing, here are 25 reasons to ditch work and come join us at #FCFESTIVAL.

  1. Learn why live performances still rule in an age of screens with the incomparable Kerry Washington.
  2. Listen to Pharrell Williams discuss the power of collaboration and creativity with Illumination’s Chris Meledandri.
  3. Laugh your lanyard off with Larry Wilmore, who will be hosting a live version of his hit show Black on the Air.
  4. Get an inside look at how Amazon Studios and Blumhouse are changing how we consume media.
  5. Find out how to bridge entrepreneurship and empowerment with two powerhouses: designer Diane von Furstenberg and Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble.
  6. Hear celebrity chef and Row 7 Seed Company Founder Dan Barber and Sweetgreen cofounder Nic Jammet discuss how the future of food looks a lot like the future of the planet.
  7. Shapewear doyenne and founder of Spanx Sara Blakely will discus how leadership can provide stability in uncertain times with Delta CEO Ed Bastian.
  8. Take a deeper look at design with Michael Hendrix, partner and executive design director of renowned design agency Ideo.
  9. See why Drybar is about more than just great blowouts with founder Alli Webb.
  10. Worried about fake news? Listen to Hany Farid, professor at Dartmouth College, and photojournalist John Moore discuss how “deep fakes” are making the truth harder to discern than ever.
  11. Hear how fashion designer Tory Burch turned her company into a $3 billion business.
  12. Find out what it takes to take a cult brand beyond the die-hards with Jen Berrent, COO of WeWork, and the founders of the Skimm, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg.
  13. Sprint through product development with Market Gravity and Deloitte Digital as they teach you how to go from Post-it Note to prototype.
  14. Plan your future with Prudential as it hosts an “escape room” workshop that will help you understand how to meet your financial challenges.
  15. Explore the ethical implications of artificial intelligence with senior executives from Intel and some of the top AI researchers from across the industry.
  16. Head to Lippincott’s Park Avenue lab to discover how it’s designing the workplace of the future.
  17. Bang the gavel with online auction house Paddle8 and learn about fundraising in the digital age.
  18. It may not be breakfast in bed, but you can still learn where your bed linens come from with Parachute, which will be hosting a breakfast.
  19. Get an inside look at how Giphy and Lemonade have captured the imagination of millennials.
  20. Grab a beer with Ceros and learn about the differences between creating content and creating real experiences.
  21. Absorb some lessons about why you should be designing for your employees rather than your company from the design geniuses at Frog.
  22. Go inside the news with a hosted tour of the Mic newsroom with cofounder and editor-at-large Jake Horowitz.
  23. Hang with some pups and learn how Bark designs its products with our canine friends in mind.
  24. Take a stroll around Central Park and learn about urban flora from a certified arborist with the Arbor Day Foundation. Picnic included!
  25. Snack, chat, and refuel at Convene, the Innovation Festival Hub conveniently located a stone’s throw from Grand Central Terminal.