This year, we have 34 categories (including several new ones). We’re looking for any and all groundbreaking projects that have launched since the start of 2020. Entries will be considered by a group of designers, venture capitalists, thinkers, social entrepreneurs, and Fast Company editors. You can see some of the past judges below, and more will be adding the 2021 judges in the coming months. Entries will be judged on impact, design, scalability, and ingenuity.
Our goal with these awards is to bring attention to ideas with great potential, and help them expand their reach and serve as inspiration for others. Every entry will be read by Fast Company editors. Winners will appear in the May issue of Fast Company magazine and on our website and all honorees will be featured on fastcompany.com. And this year we’ll also be selecting one overall World Changing Company from all our entrants.
Advertising Campaigns designed to draw attention to social issues and inspire people to act or to promote world-changing products or services.
AI & Data Projects that harness the power of data, machine learning, or artificial intelligence to understand the world and empower change.
Apps Projects that live primarily in a mobile format, in any discipline.
Architecture (New!) Buildings that change the way we live or work, making it more sustainable, more energy efficient, and more humane.
Art & Design Projects using design as the vehicle to shake up conversations surrounding society’s most pressing issues.
Creativity Any creative project–photography, writing, visualization, film–that helps explain and publicize global problems and solutions.
Consumer Products Items for your house or office that help you live a more purposeful life, or fundamentally alter outdated business models or supply chains of our current consumer goods.
Corporate Social Responsibility For corporate initiatives that use a company’s platform and power to help advance change, either internally or for the community.
Developing World Technology Products designed specifically for the developing world, both ones intended for the bottom of the pyramid and those intended to help create leapfrog innovation.
Education Companies or initiatives that help inspire better and more equitable learning.
Energy Solar, wind, and any other innovative ideas to create clean power (either for personal use or at a large scale) or new systems for better electricity distribution.
ExperimentalConcepts, prototypes, and just-launched ideas that may not have clear impact but have the potential to change how we think about an issue.
Food Projects changing what we eat, how we eat, and how we get our food.
Health (New!)Medical innovations that save lives, extend longevity, or increase access to care.
Impact Investing Impact funds, social impact bonds, and other investments in change making organizations or initiatives that generate societal benefit along with financial return.
Media & Entertainment Movies, books, videos, and other projects that expose issues or create actionable change.
Pandemic Response (New!) Programs, products, policies, or anything else designed to mitigate either the health effects of COVID-19 or the economic effects of lockdowns.
Politics & Policy Innovative campaigns or policy initiatives that challenge the status quo for the benefit of the environment, equity, and society.
Spaces, Places, and Cities Buildings, landscapes, urban designs, and policies that make cities and living in them cleaner, more efficient, more beautiful, and more equitable for their citizens.
Social Justice Projects that help advance the cause of civil rights for marginalized people or groups.
Software (New!) Projects whose main feature is a software component, in any discipline.
Students Projects in any category, created by undergraduate or graduate students.
Transportation Projects that get you places whether on two wheels or four in new, interesting, and fuel-efficient ways.
Urban Design (New!) Landscapes, urban designs, and policies that make cities and living in them cleaner, more efficient, more beautiful, and more equitable for their citizens.
Wellness (New!) Products and projects that improve either personal or global well-being, from equipment to apps to consumables.
Best World Changing Idea APAC The best world changing idea overall in the Asia-Pacific region.
Best World Changing Idea EMEA The best world changing idea overall in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Best World Changing Idea NA The best world changing idea overall in North America.
Best World Changing Idea LATAM The best world changing idea overall in Latin America.
On The Rise: 0-4 Years In Business (New!) Companies that have achieved incredible impact and have been in business under 4 years.
Established Excellence: 5-14 Years In Business (New!) Companies that have achieved incredible impact and have been in business between 5 and 14 years.
Enduring Impact: 15+ Years In Business (New!) Companies that have achieved incredible impact and have been in business over 15 years.
The broadest ideas, be they new government policies, new business models, or entire new consumer categories. Anything that has the potential to effect true systems change or solve wicked problems.
World Changing Company Of The Year
The most world changing company of the year, selected by Fast Company editors. Companies will be judged on the quality, breadth, and ambition of their submitted work.