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Final call for applications for Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators 2021

The deadline is March 19. Our third annual ranking will identify companies and organizations from around the world that have created the most potent cultures for innovation. Winners will appear in the September issue.

Final call for applications for Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators 2021
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Fast Company is still accepting applications for our annual Best Workplaces for Innovators awards, but the final deadline is almost here – March 19.

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This marks the third year we will be recognizing companies and organizations around the world that most effectively empower employees at all levels to improve processes, create new products, or invent whole new ways of doing business.

We will also recognize an Innovation Team of the Year and honorable mentions, and this year we are encouraging companies to nominate an Innovation Leader of the Year, a designation that can go to any individual—he or she could be a lab manager, a division head, or a CEO—who has championed innovation in the workplace. We are also dividing the list into categories defined by size of company and corporate status, separating nonprofits and not-for-profit organizations from for-profit corporations.

To select winners, the editors of Fast Company are again collaborating with Accenture, a leading professional services firm that works with more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500 to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day. Accenture serves as an objective third party, bringing decades of research and expertise on relevant topics, from corporate innovation to workplace inclusion. Together we have devised a series of questions and metrics and developed a rigorous, data-based methodology to evaluate the role innovation plays in a particular company’s operations.

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Every company that applies will be evaluated by Fast Company’s editorial staff, and finalists will be presented to an elite panel of judges—leading entrepreneurs, executives, technologists, and academics.

“This editorial initiative rewards companies that have established a proven track record as incubators of innovation, encouraging employees from top to bottom to discover, explore, and invent,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company.

Companies selected as Best Workplaces for Innovators will appear in the September 2021 issue of Fast Company magazine and on fastcompany.com.  For more information and details, see the FAQs.

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Last year’s Best Workplaces for Innovators issue honored 100 organizations from around the world, ranging from nonprofits like our number one organization of the year, ALSAC/St. Jude, to startups like San Francisco-based Figma, to corporate giants such as Pfizer and Salesforce.

This year the editors and judges will be on the lookout for companies that have shown exceptional innovation in 2020. “COVID, along with the resulting upheaval in business, has made innovation more important than ever. Companies are moving to a ‘next normal’ in how to innovate, capitalizing on human ingenuity and technology to tackle the world’s greatest challenges,” said Paul Daugherty, group chief executive of Accenture Technology. “With today’s increasingly virtual and dispersed workforce, organizations must find new ways to support a vibrant culture and workplace for innovation in order to effectively compete.”

For more than a decade, Fast Company has been recognizing outstanding achievement with its awards programs. Our Most Innovative Companies list celebrates organizations that are transforming industries and shaping society through paradigm-shifting products, insights, or services. Innovation by Design focuses on individuals and firms that are addressing some of the world’s most intractable challenges through design solutions. And World Changing Ideas highlights emerging initiatives that aim to enhance life for all of us.

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What differentiates Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators awards from other best places to work lists is that it’s the only major business magazine recognition program that shines a light on innovation as the primary workplace perk.

Any organization that can demonstrate a serious and sustained commitment to building a culture of innovation that yields tangible results is eligible to apply—public, private, or nonprofit. For more information or to apply, visit fastcompany.com/apply/bwi.

About the author

Jay Woodruff is a senior editor at Fast Company. After helping launch the quarterly DoubleTake, he joined Esquire and later held senior editorial positions at Entertainment Weekly and oversaw digital at Maxim, Blender and Stuff

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