July 24, 2020 – Super-Early Rate Deadline ($495)
August 21, 2020 – Early Rate Deadline ($695)
September 18, 2020 – Regular Deadline ($895)
Mid-February 2021 – All applicants will be notified via email if they were chosen as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies
Late March 2021 – Winners will be announced in Fast Company’s March/April 2021 issue and on FastCompany.com
What Is Most Innovative Companies Award?
Since 2008, Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies has been the definitive source for recognizing the organizations that are transforming industries and shaping society. Last year, Fast Company recognized 400 organizations with this prestigious honor, from the largest companies in the world to startups with just a few employees.
Every submission for the 2021 Most Innovative Companies will be individually evaluated by a team of Fast Company editors and reporters.
How Do I Apply?
Start your application here: https://fastcompany-mic.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/home/4
Who Can Apply?
Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes. Organizations may apply under 42 industry and regional categories, and must demonstrate how their innovations from the past year have impacted their business, their industry, and the broader culture. Companies and non-profits of all sizes will be considered.
This is an international awards program, open to companies from around the world. We do request that entries are submitted in English.
Brand Exposure – Every company that applies will be seen and evaluated by Fast Company’s editorial staff. All of the industry top 10 lists will be featured in the magazine (a monthly membership of 725,000) and on FastCompany.com (more than 40 million monthly page views)
Recognition – As part of this community, there is year-round recognition of your organization’s achievements. Executives will be considered for speaking opportunities at Fast Company events and exclusive invitations to influencer-only parties and networking. There could even be opportunities to host Fast Company influencers at your innovative space.
Credibility – Companies chosen for the Most Innovative Companies list will appear in the March 2021 issue of Fast Company magazine and on FastCompany.com.
Attract & Keep Talent – Public recognition of the team that makes your organization a Most Innovative Company helps with recruitment and retention of top talent.
Competitive Advantage & Fundraising – Public recognition of being named a Most Innovative Company can be a boost for product sales and marketing, as well as any fundraising and M&A efforts.
How Many Times Can I Apply?
You may submit multiple nominations for the same organization highlighting different innovations.
I’ve Applied Before, Can I Apply Again?
I applied last year but didn’t win. Should I apply again? Yes! Tell us how your company has evolved and made an impact through innovation over the previous year. The biggest tip we can give you is to use firm evidence (data if you have it), to show how your innovations have made or will make an impact in the future.
I won last year. Can I apply again? Yes! Tell us how your company evolved and had an impact through innovation over the previous year.
How do I Write a Successful MIC Nomination?
Get the attention of the editors and writers who'll decide the 2021 honorees by following these 10 tips
Lead with 2020 innovations: Do not start by telling us your company's history. Most Innovative Companies is not a lifetime-achievement award. A successful application crisply details what your company has done in 2020 to stand out in its category. The centerpiece of a company's case can be an initiative that started before this year, but you need to identify how the company has built upon that work successfully in 2020.
Focus on a project: Tell us about a particular initiative in your company. It's not enough merely to state that your product or strategy is innovative. The key is to isolate the novelty in what you're doing and delineate how and why it's different than what's come before.
Be specific: Use details to build a strong case for innovation. What makes you most excited when you think about what you've developed? What are the features of what you're doing that your customers are buzzing about?
Demonstrate impact: Provide metrics—user numbers, revenue growth, customer satisfaction rates, and the like—that illustrate the positive impact of your innovation on the company and beyond.
Connect the dots: There should be a clear, recent connection between the innovation and the impact of that innovation. We judge companies on a sliding scale of impact and innovation. Some company’s innovations are so bold that they don’t need to show massive impact just yet. In other instances, the story is about the breakthrough performance of a previously introduced innovation.
Put your dent in the universe: How are your innovations impacting your industry? Society? How are they driving a public conversation? The more you can make the case that you're leading a significant change—again, with data to support it—the better your application.
Frame your story in a larger context: We love a good story and a surprising, perhaps unsung, contributor who's shaping the future. Are you championing a new approach to an old problem? Are your innovations transforming the way we think about a segment of our society? How are you reframing a civic debate about the future with your innovative products and strategy?
Finish the job: If you're an architecture firm, completed buildings will garner more attention than renderings. If you're a pharmaceutical company, an FDA-approved drug matters more than a promising clinical trial. In-progress ideas will certainly be considered, but completing the work counts.
Give us a sneak preview: If there are new products or announcements that you know will be released before the end of the year which can improve your case, please share this information so we can follow up at the appropriate time to learn more.
Less is more: We know this is counter-intuitive, but trust us: Focus on the thing that best reflects how your company approaches innovation rather than rattling off a laundry list of initiatives that may not be as important. Including everything you did this year will simply weaken the case for the most notable things you have achieved. Bring your biggest ideas to life.
What Happens After I Apply?
Winners are selected by the editors of Fast Company. Entries will remain confidential and will not be shared with third parties. Category selection is for general guidance. Our editors may choose a different category if the entry wins. Categories are subject to change per editorial discretion.
All applicants will be notified in Mid-February 2021 if they are a Most Innovative Company. All winners will be announced in Fast Company’s March/April 2021 issue and on FastCompany.com.
What Are The MIC Category Definitions?
Click here to view all MIC Categories and their corresponding definitions.