World Changing IdeasWorld Changing Ideas

2021 World Changing Ideas

Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas awards honor products, concepts, companies, policies, and designs that are pursuing innovation for the good of society and the planet. The contest, now in its fifth year, has honored everything from large companies’ sustainability initiatives to clever consumer products to groundbreaking government policies. There are many problems in the world, and we are interested in innovative ideas that solve any of them.

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.

The entry period for the 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards is now closed. Please click here to sign up for future award notifications.

Why Enter

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 And this year we’ll also be selecting one overall World Changing Company from all our entrants.

You can read about last year’s winners and finalists here.

For full competition details, see the rules and FAQs.


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.
General Excellence

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.

Last Year’s Judges

Justin Ahrens
Justin Ahrens Chief Evangelist Rule29
Brandon Anderson
Brandon Anderson Founder Raheem
Emiko Atherton
Emiko Atherton Director, National Complete Streets Coalition Smart Growth America
Lisa Bowers
Lisa Bowers CEO Rhea Ventures
Alexandra Bromson
Alexandra Bromson Origination Generate Capital
Sebastian Buck
Sebastian Buck Cofounder and Strategic Lead Enso
Carol Cone
Carol Cone CEO Carol Cone On Purpose
Jeremy Deaton
Jeremy Deaton Associate Director, Editorial Nexus Media
Krista Donaldson
Krista Donaldson CEO D-Rev
Zoe Feldman
Zoe Feldman Senior Director, Incubator And New Ventures Chobani
Aria Finger
Aria Finger CEO
Grant Garrison
Grant Garrison Communications Leader, Global Community Impact Johnson & Johnson
Rihanna Gunn-Wright
Rihanna Gunn-Wright Director Of Climate Policy Roosevelt Institute
Toshi Anders Hoo
Toshi Anders Hoo Director, Emerging Media Lab Institute for the Future
Jessica Jackley
Jessica Jackley Chief Impact Officer Aspiration
Jonathon Keats
Jonathon Keats Experimental Philosopher
Marjorie Kelly
Marjorie Kelly Senior Fellow And Executive Vice President The Democracy Collaborative
Anthea Kelsick
Anthea Kelsick Co-CEO B Lab U.S. & Canada
Cliff Kuang
Cliff Kuang UX Designer and Author, User Friendly
Mike Masserman
Mike Masserman Head of Social Impact Lyft
Susan McPherson
Susan McPherson Founder And CEO McPherson Strategies
Susan Merriam
Susan Merriam Cofounder The Center for American Politics and Design
L. Michelle Moore
L. Michelle Moore CEO Groundswell
Michael Ngigi
Michael Ngigi Studio Director ThinkPlace Kenya
Christine Outram
Christine Outram CEO Everydae
Emily Pilloton
Emily Pilloton Founder And Executive Director Girls Garage
Jaycee Pribulsky
Jaycee Pribulsky Vice President Of Sustainable Manufacturing And Sourcing Nike
Alex Rappaport
Alex Rappaport Education Entrepreneur
Rashad Robinson
Rashad Robinson President Color Of Change
Rajendra Sisodia
Rajendra Sisodia Cofounder and Co-Chairman Conscious Capitalism
Bryan Sivak
Bryan Sivak Managing Director KP Ventures
Piyush Tantia
Piyush Tantia Chief Innovation Officer Ideas42
Genevieve Taylor
Genevieve Taylor Executive Director And Managing Facilitator Ag Innovations

Marcelle van Beusekom
Marcelle van Beusekom Design Director Ideo San Francisco
Tony Wan
Tony Wan Managing Editor EdSurge
Adlai Wertman
Adlai Wertman Director Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California
Ben Wyskida
Ben Wyskida CEO Fenton

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