The 10 most exciting world-changing ideas of 2020

Despite the deep tragedies of 2020, it was also a year of hope. Behind the daily toll of the pandemic was the knowledge that scientists were working at record speed to make a vaccine using a new breakthrough technology. Every day people made new advances in technological solutions to prevent the virus spreading (surely more innovation—both scientific and DIY—happened in the mask world than in any previous year) and in policy solutions to help people caught in the economic disaster brought on by COVID-19. And in a year that felt like it changed everything, people also began contemplating how we might rebuild differently, with new ideas about how to fix the climate crisis, how we work, and how we live.

To help catalog those advances, these are the ideas we featured on Fast Company’s Impact section this year that drew the most attention in 2020.


The response to COVID-19 in much of the world (especially the U.S.) has been woefully inadequate, but it has still involved concentrated investment of time and money to solve a global problem. Perhaps there is another global problem that we could treat the same way?


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