Today, I’m happy to finally announce Fast Company's first Innovation By Design Awards, which will celebrate the year’s best designs. We’ve been working on this for several months now, talking to members of the design and entrepreneurship communities, and suffice it to say, we’re trying to add a crucial link to the ongoing dialogue about design and business.
How so? At a glance, it might seem like we’re launching yet another design competition, much like those that have gone before. But here’s what’s different. Most design competitions tend to be run by the design community, and for the design community. So even when designers win them, all they’re really doing is telling other designers—who already know their work—that they won an award. As important as those awards are in elevating talent, they don’t pull design out from the margins.
Our aim, by contrast, is to place designers at their rightful place at the forefront of business innovation. Here’s what I mean: Finalists of our Innovation By Design Award will be published in a feature package in Fast Company's October design issue. Winners will be published and announced on Co.Design shortly thereafter. Together, Fast Company and Co.Design offer a reach and influence that’s unique—reaching not only designers, but also decision-makers and entrepreneurs looking to find new talent for their new project. Fast Company reaches 2.9 million readers every issue. Co.Design reaches another 1.5 million readers a month, serving over 6 million pageviews.
Ultimately, we want to give innovators and businesses a record of the year’s most intriguing design ideas—and a catalogue of designers to hire. And we want to celebrate those designers whose influence rarely goes appreciated on a large, mainstream platform. (It’s no coincidence that the judges we’ve gathered hail from the worlds of design and business—from Dave Morin of Path to Alison Moore of HBO to Nicholas Felton of Facebook to Yves Behar to David Adjaye.)
All of this is a bet on something we’re seeing every day, and something we believe in deeply: Though people have long predicted that design was on the rise, the moment is finally here. The best businesses have design woven into their DNA; the best designers have become some of the most powerful analysts of how we live today.
We hope that you or your company will enter the competition, and we can’t wait to see what you’ve done.
Top image: Marc Dietrich/Shutterstock