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Only two retail companies made this list

BY Marianne Wilson

When it comes to the best workplaces for innovators, retailers may be a bit lacking short.

At least that’s the takeaway from Fast Company‘s first annual “Best Workplaces for Innovation” list, which  is designed to recognize companies that empower all employees—not just top executives, scientists, or coders—to create new products, improve operations and take risks. The ranking honors  50 companies from around the world that “do more than just talk the talk.” Only two retailers made the list: Sephora and Amazon. Here is Fast Company’s listing for the two.

  • Amazon: One way Amazon cultivates ideas from more than 600,000 employees is via a process called “working backwards”: Any employee with a big idea is encouraged to create a plan that includes a customer-impact statement, a mock press release, key questions, and perspectives from different business areas. It’s how site features such as Prime Now and AmazonSmile began.
  • Sephora:  Sephora Accelerate, an incubation program, is exclusively for female founders in beauty; it includes a weeklong business boot camp, one-on-one mentoring from Sephora partners and leaders, grants, and a demo day where founders get the opportunity to present their companies to venture partners and Sephora’s senior team.

One of the reasons for the lack of showing by retailers on the list may have to do with the fact that a company had to apply to be considered.

According to Fast Company, more than 360 companies applied between January 29 and March 22, 2019, answering 10 questions about R&D investment and company-wide programs and processes. All applications were assessed separately by Fast Company editors and Accenture researchers, and the two sets of scores were then combined. The judging panel reviewed the 60 companies with the highest scores and recommended the final Top 50.

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