Fast Company Names HKS a Best Workplace for Innovators

Fast Company Names HKS a Best Workplace for Innovators


HKS ranked highest among design consulting firms on Fast Company magazine’s third-annual Best Workplaces for Innovators list. In 2021, the magazine honors organizations who continued to foster creative culture amidst unprecedented disruption. HKS was singled out for its research incubator program, one of the many ways the firm encouraged creativity while adopting a new flexible work policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ranking #31 out of 100 on the Fast Company list, HKS is the only design consulting firm that placed among the top 75, an honor HKS President and CEO Dan Noble attributes to the firm’s culture, relationships and purpose.

“Our goal is to be the most influential firm in our industry,” said Dan Noble, President & CEO of HKS. “We want to be a trusted partner to our clients, a progressive and supportive employer and a force for good in the worldwide community. We believe in giving our people the time and resources they need to discover new and better ways of creating environments that combine beauty with performance. Our research incubator program is yielding exciting methods and ideas to do just that.”

Fast Company identified HKS’ Research Incubator as a stand-out example of our commitment to innovation. “The Research Incubator encourages diverse, inquisitive teams to think, synthesize and translate insights into impact, with a focus on new design ideas,” said HKS Global Director of Research, Dr. Upali Nanda. “When COVID hit, we had a choice. We could preserve our resources for when things returned to “normal”, or we could invest in shaping change at a time when the world needed new ideas, new hope. This recognition confirms our choice.”

When COVID hit, we had a choice. We could preserve our resources for when things returned to “normal”, or we could invest in shaping change at a time when the world needed new ideas, new hope.

One of our Research Incubator teams explored the future of work, studying how people worked from home in 2020. The goal was to explore what was successful, what was not, and form insights about the future of workplace design. The comprehensive, employee-centered study informed HKS’ new flexible work policy, underscoring our belief that work is not a place we go; it is what we do.

“Workplaces are evolving from containers to services,” says HKS Principal and Director of Commercial Interiors, Kate Davis. “Our research confirms this, and our teams now focus on crafting experiences for clients that weave together business, brand, mission and values in resilient ecosystems. I’m proud to work for a firm that leaned into the disruption of 2020 to craft a better future.”

In addition to HKS’ award-winning research program, highlights of the firm’s winning submission include COVID-19 conversions, in which we transformed civic and government facilities into flexible hospital treatment space in record time, as well as our CitizenHKS social impact program and our Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) network.