ACTIVISION BLIZZARD Lauded for Employee Engagement Challenge
It’s not about the perks.
For Fast Company‘s inaugural Best Workplaces for Innovators list, we set out to find companies that empower all employees—not just top executives, scientists, or coders—to create new products, improve operations, and take risks. We searched for businesses where innovation isn’t just a buzzword but a part of the value system and culture.
The result is an authoritative guide to the professional ecosystems where innovators and would-be innovators can thrive. It includes several of the giants and stalwarts that you might expect (Amazon, Salesforce, 3M) and numerous surprises, such as yogurt maker Chobani and Versa, an Australian marketing agency.
The need to develop a culture that fosters inventive thinking has never been more urgent, says Paul Daugherty, chief technology and innovation officer at Accenture, and one of the experts we tapped to help judge the entries. (Accenture served as Fast Company‘s research partner for the list.) Many companies tout their creative chops as a way to attract scarce talent, but not all deliver. “People are going to go where they feel innovation is valued,” he says.
Fast Company‘s list, unlike other “best workplaces” rankings you’ll see in the media, isn’t a catalog of companies offering the choicest freebies or the most comprehensive benefits—although you’ll find plenty of great snacks and generous leave policies at many of the organizations included. Instead, we honor businesses doing things like offering people time to pursue bold projects (both within and outside their main jobs), configuring work spaces in a way that has led to greater collaboration across teams, putting premiums on inclusivity, and giving people room to fail. Employees—from entry-level hires to senior leadership—have an opportunity to make a real difference in these kinds of environments. And that may be the best perk of all. — Stephanie Mehta
The manufacturing conglomerate famous for Post-it Notes and Scotch tape earns about 3,000 patents every year and encourages its 91,000 employees to devote 15% of working time to projects outside the normal scope of their jobs.
Santa Monica, CA
The video-game publisher (World of Warcraft, Candy Crush, Call of Duty) and esports pioneer (Overwatch League) encourages employees to participate in a semiannual challenge called the 5×5 Innovation Challenge, a tournament in which teams of five people are given five weeks and a $5,000 research budget to create a pitch to address a real company challenge, such as enhancing a key franchise.