National Geographic has been named to Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. The list honors organizations making the most profound impact on both industry and culture, showcasing a variety of ways to thrive in today’s volatile world.
“National Geographic has always understood that great storytelling can spark curiosity and help solve big problems,” said Gary Knell, chairman of National Geographic Partners. “For 131 years, we’ve used our iconic yellow border to frame issues that matter and elevate them through our global platforms. We’re honored to be recognized by Fast Company as we work toward our mission to help our audience better understand the world through powerful storytelling.”
National Geographic has continuously embraced innovative technology to connect with consumers in novel ways. To promote the television show “One Strange Rock,” which tells the story of Earth from the unique perspective of astronauts, National Geographic created Astronaut Reality Helmets that transported viewers into space and aired the final episode on IGTV as one of the first media companies to adapt a made-for-TV video for vertical distribution.
Photograph by Jimmy Chin
National Geographic has used its storytelling to bring critical issues to light to foster conversation and action. Through its documentary films, the network has covered important topics like the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles in “LA 92,” the story of a giant of conservation Jane Goodall in “JANE,” and the triumph of the human spirit in “Free Solo.” In making “Free Solo,” National Geographic not only told the story of Alex Honnold’s history-making climb up El Capitan without ropes, but it also inspired audiences around the world by sharing what it takes to achieve your dreams, while also showcasing the incredible filmmaking process of shooting on the side of a mountain.
To help tell these important stories, National Geographic invests in bold people and transformative ideas through its unique relationship with the nonprofit National Geographic Society. Each year, the Society funds hundreds of grants in the areas of science, exploration, education and storytelling, and in turn, the media arm of National Geographic amplifies the resulting work through its global platforms while reinvesting its proceeds back into the Society to further this work. This unique partnership creates a virtuous cycle of storytelling and exploration that enlightens perspectives to help us further understand our world and work toward the ultimate goal: a planet in balance.
The power of this partnership is evident in National Geographic’s Planet or Plastic? initiative, which is aimed at raising awareness about the global plastic crisis. Through storytelling and science, National Geographic has worked to help prevent more than 190 million items of plastic from reaching the ocean through its Planet or Plastic? online pledge. The initiative combines the strength and reach of National Geographic’s unparalleled portfolio of media assets and the expertise of National Geographic explorers and scientists who are investigating the devastating impacts of the plastic crisis.
National Geographic also collaborates with other brands for unique storytelling opportunities, such as “ACTIVATE,” a new partnership with P&G to drive action around the challenges connected to extreme poverty. Central to the partnership is a documentary series co-produced by Global Citizen and RadicalMedia that will focus on poverty, inequality and sustainability issues. Additionally, National Geographic partnered with Nike on “Breaking2,” a branded content, award-winning documentary that chronicles the journey of three elite runners in their attempt to run a marathon in under two hours.
The World’s Most Innovative Companies is Fast Company’s signature franchise and one of its most highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. It provides both a snapshot and a road map for the future of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy. Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies issue is now available online as well as in app form via iTunes and on newsstands beginning Feb. 27.