For the third year, Fast Company is recognizing more than 100 organizations, leaders, and teams that have created cultures of innovation in 2021—no easy task given that many employees have continued to work remotely this year. The companies on the Best Workplaces for Innovators list found ways to collaborate and invent despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, and in some cases applied their innovation prowess to the challenges of virtual work. A favorite example: PepsiCo embedded management training in the game Minecraft based on a suggestion from an employee’s child.
“We really focused on how companies are able to use innovation at work as a differentiator to attract talent,” 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.) And when talent and innovation intersect with mission—as it did for vaccine maker Moderna, No. 1 on the Best Workplaces for Innovators ranking—the results are not just powerful, they can help change the world.
Between January 11 and March 26, 2021, nearly 900 companies applied to Best Workplaces for Innovators, each providing an example of internal innovation and information about investment, company-wide programs and processes, and workplace culture with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion initiatives. All applicants were assessed separately by Fast Company editors and Accenture researchers, and the two sets of scores were then combined. A judging panel reviewed the top-ranked 125 companies and voted on the top 10. Innovation Team of the Year and Innovative Leader of the Year applications, as well as applicants to various subcategories, were judged solely by Fast Company editors.
- Saikat Chaudhuri, faculty director, Management, Entrepreneurship, & Technology Program, University of California, Berkeley
- Edith Cooper, cofounder, Medley
- Paul Daugherty, group chief executive of technology and CTO, Accenture
- Jeremy Jurgens, managing director, Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum
- Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief, Fast Company
- Jana Rich, founder, Rich Talent Group
- Stefan Seiler, group head of human resources, UBS
- Bradley Tusk, founder and CEO, Tusk Ventures
Read more about Fast Company‘s 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators 2021.