Fast Company March/April 2019

Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, leadership, world changing ideas, and design. Written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders, Fast Company inspires readers to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations, and create the future of business.

United States
Mansueto Ventures LLC
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
finding the spark

Is innovation dead? From some angles, it might look that way. Many of the companies we expect to churn out breakthrough technologies are instead, and rightly, focused on rebuilding trust with their employees, customers, and local communities. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that he spent almost all of last year on issues regarding free speech, privacy, and well-being. (For more on Facebook’s privacy woes, check out Shoshana Zuboff’s probing essay on page 16.) It is hard to imagine he’s had much time to code or plot new products. But look closer, as Fast Company did in researching our 12th annual Most Innovative Companies list, and you’ll see that the innovative spark remains strong—just elsewhere. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is making it easier for physicians to address previously…

6 min
in the grasp of big tech

Mark Zuckerberg ushered in the new year pledging to address the many woes that now plague his company by “making sure people have control of their information,” and “ensuring our services improve people’s well-being.” As much as we may want to believe him, Zuckerberg’s sudden turn toward accountability is impossible to take seriously. The problems Zuckerberg cited, including “election interference” and “hate speech and misinformation,” are by-products of the features of social networks, not bugs. How do we explain Facebook’s years of ignoring these developments? Some headlines have blamed the internet. Others criticize Facebook’s management. A powerful November exposé in The New York Times describes Facebook’s executives as having “stumbled,” first ignoring warning signs of meddling during the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election and then trying to conceal them.…

3 min
turning a threat into thread

The German sportswear giant continued working with environmental group Parley for the Oceans, which intercepts plastic waste at the shoreline before it enters the sea, to create its spring 2019 Outdoor footwear line. Adidas then recycled the material for the knitted uppers of its sneakers. Zero-dye technology contributed to the monochrome design, which requires fewer chemicals and less energy and water to produce. (Price starting at $65) STAFF PICK Dolby Dimension Headphones ($ 599, For the first time, Dolby, whose technology has powered countless sound systems, has released a consumer product of its own design. The headphones deliver a 3-D-like sound quality. Their industrial design is slick and comfortable, with soft surfaces rather than hard plastics, and the touch controls work well. The headphones use noise-cancellation technology, but Dolby acknowledges that at home,…

4 min
my operating system instagram’s head of design, ian spalter

what’s your best habit, and what’s your worst one? My best habit is that I start Monday mornings by putting pen to paper and writing a to-do list—a brain dump of work and home stuff I need to get done. I do this before opening my laptop or reviewing any notifications on my phone. I flag the three most important things that need to happen and get a lot of satisfaction from crossing them off. My worst habit is that I self-censor. I tend to think too carefully, even when I’m setting goals. I try to have some mechanism in place for self-reflection—like journaling—so that I can better reflect on my past mind-sets when I’m looking ahead. when i’m creatively stuck, i… Walk, then do the simplest version of the task. Write nonsense, sketch…

1 min
the world’s 50 most innovative companies

Our annual ranking of the businesses making the most profound impact on both industry and culture showcases a variety of ways to thrive in today’s volatile world. Stitch Fix is using data to improve the $334 billion apparel business (while also leading on issues of workplace equality and work-life balance). Truepic is employing advanced digital forensics—and the blockchain—to counter the scourge of image manipulation. Sweetgreen, Oatly, and Target are engaging customers by elevating salads, oat milk, and everyday essentials into must-haves. Read on to learn how these and 45 other companies are creating the future today, plus see our top-10 lists of the Most Innovative Companies by category, from advertising to wellness.…

3 min
01.–02. for pioneering transactional super apps

In the first half of 2018, Meituan Dianping—a Chinese tech platform that expedites the booking and delivery of services such as food, hotel stays, and movie tickets—facilitated 27.7 billion transactions (worth $33.8 billion) for more than 350 million people in 2,800 cities. That’s 1,783 Meituan-enabled services every second of every day, with each customer using it an average of three times a week. Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, Grab, the Singapore-based ride-hailing company, forced Uber out of the region in 2018 and acquired its local operations. A few months later, it expanded its app to offer its 130 million users not only food delivery and travel booking, but also financial and other services. These efforts helped Grab hit $1 billion in revenue in 2018 and attract more than $3 billion in fresh…