In just over three weeks we'll be turning the page on 2020. Most folks won't be all that sad to put this year into the rearview mirror -- but growth stock investors are a different breed. While the broader market has been taken on a roller-coaster ride, innovative growth stocks have soared.

If a year of heightened volatility has taught investors anything, it's that fast-growing businesses with game-changing potential may be well worth your hard-earned money. If you have $1,000 that can be put to work into equities right now, the following four game-changing stocks should be on your buy list.

Ben Franklin's eyes peering out between a messy pile of one hundred dollar bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

NextEra Energy

Here's the thing about game-changing businesses: They don't always have to be in the technology or healthcare sectors. Electric utility stock NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) is in a sector that makes watching grass grow sound exciting. However, NextEra is doing things very differently than its peers, and it's been rewarded with a high single-digit long-term growth rate that blows other utility stocks out of the water.

The key to NextEra's success is the company's focus on renewable energy. It's the leading generator of wind and solar power in the United States, and continues to aggressively reinvest in these green energy projects. For example, its 30-by-30 project will see an additional 30 million solar panels installed in Florida by 2030, which'll add roughly 10,000 megawatts of generating capacity. Between 2005 and 2030, NextEra believes its carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 67%. 

By powering forward with renewable energy solutions, NextEra has been able to drive down its electricity-generation costs, while also staying well ahead of any emissions legislation that might come out of Washington, D.C. Put simply, NextEra is a trailblazer in the utility space, and it's well worth its premium.

A multi-pipette device placing liquid samples into test tubes in a lab.

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Alexion Pharmaceuticals

Drug stocks are well known for their innovation, but Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALXN) brings something to the table that very few other drug developers offer: A unique focus on ultra-rare disease therapies.

In many instances, the diseases that Alexion targets will affect anywhere from a few hundred to many thousands of people worldwide. The risk of developing treatments for such a small pool of patients is high, but the rewards can be huge, if successful. Typically, therapies that target ultra-rare indications have little or no competition, and health insurers rarely push back on high list prices due to there being limited alternative treatment options. This is a fancy way of saying that Alexion's pricey drugs help the company fully recoup its development costs, and some.

For more than a decade, Alexion has been riding the coattails of blockbuster drug Soliris, which recently tallied about $4 billion in annual sales. But moving forward, all eyes are on next-generation drug Ultomiris. Alexion's newest therapy only needs to be administered every eight weeks, as opposed to every two weeks with Soliris. Over time, Ultomiris is expected to fully replace Soliris. Not only is this a quality-of-life win for patients, but it'll preserve Alexion's cash flow for at least another decade in these rare indications.

A smiling woman sitting on a sectional couch in the middle of a furniture showroom.

Image source: Getty Images.

Lovesac

When you think of game-changing stocks, a furniture maker probably doesn't come to mind. But if that manufacturer and retailer is Lovesac (NASDAQ:LOVE), it certainly should.

Whereas most furniture companies operate by the same formula and struggle to differentiate in a crowded field, Lovesac stands out for its eco-friendly focus and its emphasis on options. The yarn used in the company's sactionals is spun from 100% recycled plastic bottles, which helps it appeal to climate-conscious millennial buyers. What's more, these sactionals can be rearranged in hundreds of combinations, allowing buyers to maximize the functionality of their furniture.

Lovesac has also done an exceptional job of adapting to the retail environment in a post-pandemic world. Even with many physical showrooms closed or seeing reduced foot traffic, net sales were up 29% in the fiscal second quarter. The company has pivoted to online sales and used pop-up showrooms to display its products. 

Although Lovesac has yet to push into the profit column, it's expected to double its full-year sales over the next four years. That's eye-popping growth investors shouldn't ignore.

A person inserting their Cash Card into a Square point-of-sale credit-card reader.

Image source: Square.

Square

Another innovative company you can put $1,000 to work in right now is fintech stock Square (NYSE:SQ). Despite its phenomenal run up in 2020, it may still possess 10-bagger potential over the next decade.

Most consumers are probably familiar with Square's seller ecosystem and what the company's devices and analytics have done to help small businesses thrive. Between 2012 and 2019, the gross payment value (GPV) traversing Square's payment network increased by nearly $100 billion to $106.2 billion. On a compound annual basis, we're talking about GPV growth of 49% over seven years. Since this is a merchant fee-driven operating segment, greater adoption among small and large businesses will lead to higher revenue generation.

Yet what's really got investors abuzz is Square's peer-to-peer digital payments platform, Cash App. Between the end of 2017 and June 2020, Cash App's monthly active user (MAU) count more than quadrupled to 30 million, with approximately 7 million of these MAUs using Cash Card (a debit card that pulls from a users' Cash App balance). This fast-growing digital payment platform that primarily speaks to millennials and Generation Z allows Square to collect revenue from transfers, merchant fees, investments, and bitcoin exchange.

Square might well be on the leading edge of a payments revolution.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.