In a year of unprecedented challenges, we know there are stories of companies that have been able to adapt amid crisis and even thrive, helping to build the future of our economy and society. We hope you’ll submit those stories for consideration for recognition among Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies, the definitive showcase for business since 2008.
With the application deadline for sharing your company’s innovation story approaching, consider this page a resource for answering any last-minute questions you may have. Of course, if you have a question that’s not addressed here, feel free to reach out to us at micapplications [at] fastcompany [dot] com. We’ll get right back to you.
What do you look for in an application?
Our editors and reporters are looking for a combination of innovation and impact. What are your company’s innovations in 2020? And how have they had a meaningful effect on revenue, customer growth, your industry, and society at large? You should tell your company’s story in the context of the bigger issues it’s seeking to solve and the progress it’s making in addressing them.
Which category should I apply under?
We have three types of categories: industry, region, and domain expertise. For example, any company making a food product should apply in the Food category. If that same business uses artificial intelligence to identify customer tastes better and faster than the competition, it could also consider the Artificial Intelligence category. If the organization is based in Buenos Aires and is serving its local populace in a way that hasn’t been done before, it should also apply in the Latin America region. Finally, if that same firm has less than 50 employees or worked with another company on its breakthrough product this year, we have the Small and Mighty and Joint Ventures categories to showcase these innovations.
Should I apply under multiple categories?
If your company has multiple, distinct innovation stories—say, one that concerns your retail strategy and another around consumer electronics—you should apply in multiple categories. If, as noted above, you have a story to tell in both your industry and within a particular subject-matter skill, then you should consider applying in multiple categories or chose the one that you think best lets you shine.
Do I need to disclose revenue figures?
We do ask for a revenue range on the application, as well as metrics that illustrate the success of your innovation and health of your business. We strongly encourage you to answer these questions, but there is no penalty if you choose not to do so. The more information you can share, though, as to the impact of your company’s innovations—including, of course, their effect on company revenues—the better we can assess your case. If as a privately held company you do not share revenue, we welcome whatever metrics you can provide to bolster the argument you’re making on behalf of your company.
What impact will COVID-19 have on how you judge applications?
The global pandemic and its myriad ripple effects have made a profound mark on business this year, so we certainly expect to hear a lot about how companies adapted to COVID-19. That said, Most Innovative Companies is about more than just the health crisis. We definitely want to explore great stories about innovations that relate to the effort to protect the world’s population from the virus and its economic fallout, and we hope to hear stories about nimble adaptations from the industries hardest hit by the pandemic. But if your company doesn’t have a COVID-19 story to tell, don’t feel obliged to find one. We want to hear about innovations that address all aspects of our world.