For the second year, Fast Company is recognizing organizations that have created cultures enabling employees at all levels—not just top executives, computer scientists, or researchers—to innovate. We’ve expanded the list from 50 to 100 companies, schools, and nonprofits of all sizes, from SōRSE Technology, a 30-person startup, to Siemens, a 173-year-old conglomerate employing nearly 400,000 people worldwide. We’re also introducing a whole new category to this year’s list, having invited companies to nominate internal groups for recognition as Innovative Team of the Year.
These companies share a commitment to unlocking the potential of creative individuals and diverse teams. Black & Decker’s “Innovation Everywhere” program nurtured an executive assistant’s idea for eliminating $1 million in spending on records maintenance, while software company SAS pairs employees with nonprofits to jointly solve social challenges. “There’s never been a greater need for innovation than in the face of today’s mounting challenges,” says Paul Daugherty, group chief executive of technology and CTO at Accenture, one of our expert judges. (Accenture served as Fast Company‘s research partner for the list.) As much of the world recovers from health, economic, and social crises, there seems no better time to recognize workplaces that spend on technology and R&D and invest in their people.
Between January 8 and March 20, 2020, 865 companies applied, answering four questions about investment in innovation and company-wide programs and processes. All applications were assessed separately by Fast Company editors and Accenture researchers, and the two sets of scores were then combined. The judging panel reviewed the top-ranked 125 companies and by consensus chose to include three companies (Google, Microsoft, and Stripe) that had not applied but merited inclusion. Innovative Team of the Year applications were judged by Fast Company editors.
Ana Bakshi, director, Oxford Foundry
Saikat Chaudhuri, executive director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Jana Rich, founder, Rich Talent Group
Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief, Fast Company
Paul Daugherty, group chief executive of technology and CTO, Accenture
Susan Chambers, president, Chambers Consulting
Frances Frei, professor, Harvard Business School
Ken Chenault, chairman and managing director, General Catalyst