Before you apply to be considered as one of Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators in 2021, study our advice for making the strongest case possible for your organization.
Jargon alone won’t win you any awards. We’re looking for companies that do more than just talk the talk.
Focus on a recent or ongoing example. We’re looking for current hotbeds of innovation, organizations that are working to sustain a creative culture and aren’t resting on the laurels of a handful of breakthroughs a decade ago.
We’re looking to honor companies that are accomplishing real innovation, not merely laying the groundwork for future breakthroughs. In other words, real projects with tangible results.
We want details. Who did what, when and how? How’d the idea come about? What initial hurdles needed to be overcome? How big was the team? How long did it take? How much did it cost?
Tell us exactly what was accomplished and what it means. What are the implications for the company, the industry, the broader world?
Your big idea may have originated in the c-suite or with an intern, but (full disclosure) we’re a bit biased toward ideas that come from the bottom up, from surprising sources, because a) they’re more surprising and make for better stories, and b) they are more indicative of a pervasive culture of innovation that rewards exploration at all levels. That said, wherever the idea originated, the emphasis should be on the quality of the innovation, the rigor with which it was pursued, and the inclusivity of the effort to bring the idea to fruition.
Tell a story
Exhaustive lists of initiatives are boring. Pick a project that seems most emblematic of your own particular culture of innovation and tell the story. (See Be precise and Be democratic above.) You can always include at the end of your example a quick list of other significant recent efforts that have benefited from the same culture.