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These factors will make your entry stand out on the Most Innovative Companies list

Editors and writers at Fast Company Middle East will look for these characteristics when creating the 2024 Most Innovative Companies list.

These factors will make your entry stand out on the Most Innovative Companies list
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

Now accepting applications for Fast Company Middle East’s Most Innovative Companies. Click here to apply.

Inclusion on Fast Company Middle East’s annual list of the Most Innovative Companies is a prestigious honor for businesses. As the team responsible for curating the list, we often get questions about the primary factors we consider when selecting businesses for the list. Each year, as we evaluate the applications, we focus on four key aspects: creativity, influence, timeliness, and pertinence.


Innovation is everything! This is the first and foremost factor we consider when evaluating applications for the Most Innovative Companies list. Does the company have a clear innovation (or innovations), and did it demonstrate how this innovation sets it apart from other companies and general current industry trends? Simply claiming to be innovative isn’t enough.

You have to explain and demonstrate how it’s innovative. The key is to showcase the “what’s new” factor and explain how it differs from what’s come before.

If your company has multiple related initiatives (initiatives connected to sustainability), it’s good to frame your innovation in that context and then use all the examples to bolster your case.

For companies with a wider range of innovative projects that fall under different categories, we recommend submitting entries within the most relevant category for each initiative. Focus on the argument highlighting your specific strengths in logistics or branding. Try to avoid combining unrelated initiatives into a single submission.


Beyond innovation, we seek impact. After establishing a clear and innovative idea, we delve deeper to assess its impact. The next question we ask ourselves: Did this innovation have a clear, positive effect on the company and the industry?

We are looking for companies to show us how they have measured the impact of innovations. This can include a wide range of data points that effectively illustrate the innovation’s success story.

This data can be almost anything that brings your story to life, including revenue, revenue growth, user growth, customer growth, average revenue per user, same-store sales growth, impressions, and viewers—however, you measure success internally. 

Traditional metrics like revenue growth are important, but we also value qualitative impact. Did your innovation influence policy or inspire industry shifts? Highlight these successes, both quantitative and qualitative, to showcase your innovation’s true impact.


As we curate the 2024 Most Innovative Companies list (releasing in November 2024), we prioritize innovations that not only define 2023 but also hold promise for shaping the year ahead.

With that in mind, a successful application should outline what your company achieved in 2023 to distinguish itself within its category and what’s next. While the centerpiece of your case may involve an initiative that began before 2023, it’s crucial to highlight how you are effectively building upon that foundation this year.


We love a good story. 

A captivating application goes beyond simply describing your innovation. We crave stories about the true impact on the broader conversations shaping our world.

Consider the significant narratives defining this year. For instance, in the Middle East, these include workforce dynamics, supply chain disruptions, energy diversification, and AI adoption with regional concerns. 

Is your company championing a novel approach to one of these trends? Are your innovations reframing a critical discussion about the future with your products and strategy?

The more you can make the case that you’re leading a significant change—again, with data to support it—the better your application. Every MIC application, regardless of category, should be connected to current events in some fashion and how they shape the world of innovation around us. 

That’s what we’re looking for in each application. But we’re also often asked for advice on how to write a successful application. Here are a few key tips to grab our editors’ and reporters’ attention. 

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