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Best Workplaces for Innovators 2022: Innovation Team of the Year

A group of Alaska Airlines employees take top honors.

Best Workplaces for Innovators 2022: Innovation Team of the Year
[Photo: LoveTheWind/iStock/Getty Images]

This story is part of Fast Company’s Best Workplaces for Innovators 2022. Explore the full list of companies that are leading incubators of internal innovation talent.

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Whether focused on microscopic computer chips or cement trucks full of concrete, these six teams stood out to Fast Company judges for devising innovative solutions to global problems.

Winner: 

Alaska Airlines

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SeaTac, Washington

Seeking to streamline the information that flight dispatchers have to juggle, Alaska Airlines pilot and head of corporate development Pasha Saleh enlisted the help of Airspace Intelligence CEO Phillip Buckendorf. Their idea—to apply autonomous vehicle technology to planes—led to a new product, Flyways AI, which optimizes routes for weather conditions and traffic. AI-determined routes shorten flights, save fuel, and reduce carbon emissions.

[Illustration: Saiman Chow]
Finalists:

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Adobe

San Jose, California

The company’s Content Authenticity Initiative team has partnered with Twitter and the New York Times to combat online misinformation.

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Cruise

San Francisco, California

The classic digital credo of “move fast and break things” is not a compelling philosophy in the autonomous vehicle sector; Cruise’s developer-experience team aims to keep safety at the forefront as the company innovates.

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Eastman

Kingsport, Tennessee

A 24-year-old management trainee, Camiel Steffanie, was assigned to work with mid-career French employee Cedric Perben; their idea for recycling cosmetics packaging blossomed into a massive initiative that now aims to recycle 500 million pounds of waste plastic by 2030.

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Holcim

Zug, Switzerland

Last year, the company’s Mexican concrete team rolled out a new platform that connects construction teams with concrete plants and drivers to increase efficiency while reducing waste.

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IBM

Armonk, New York

The IBM nanotechnology team’s breakthroughs are helping to ensure that compute capacity and speed will continue to keep pace with demand in the coming years.

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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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