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Fast Company Names WillowTree As One of Its 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#FCBestWorkplacesFast Company today announced its second annual Best Workplaces for Innovators list, honoring businesses and organizations that demonstrate a deep commitment to encouraging innovation at all levels. WillowTree, an industry-leading digital product agency, was recognized on the list, alongside a number of its client partners such as PepsiCo, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, and Nestle. WillowTree was honored for its emphasis on a problems-focused approach to innovation that resulted in the release of Vocable AAC this past year: a free, open source mobile app that helps individuals experiencing speech impairments communicate with their caregivers and loved ones.


The 2020 Best Workplaces for Innovators ranks 100 winners across industries. Working together, Fast Company editors and a third-party team of researchers scored nearly 900 applications, and a panel of eight eminent judges reviewed and endorsed the top 100 companies.

“As much of the world recovers from health, economic, and social crises, we need innovation more than ever,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as an organization where ‘innovation’ is not just a buzzword, but part of our culture and our work each day,” says Tobias Dengel, WillowTree CEO. “Providing the opportunities and resources for our talented teams to build innovative solutions to real world problems has never been more important.”

WillowTree’s recognition centers around Vocable, which was ideated at a company innovation day in 2019. When a WillowTree designer’s girlfriend became temporarily paralyzed and unable to speak due to Guillain-Barré, the couple and their loved ones found that there was limited technology available to communicate effectively and affordably without speech. With support from WillowTree leadership, Duke University speech language experts, and a group of more than two dozen dedicated team members, Vocable AAC was able to launch for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play by March 2020.

To date, the app has been downloaded by thousands of users across the globe; it has been successfully trialed by hospitals and healthcare systems across the United States for use with patients experiencing stroke, MS, ALS, spinal cord injuries, and COVID-19; and it’s available in seven languages.

“When it comes to innovative ideas like Vocable that are borne out of personal need, we know how worthwhile it is to invest our resources not just to support the idea, but to actually build a solution that solves for that need,” says Dengel.

To see Fast Company’s full story on Vocable, go to: https://www.fastcompany.com/90532962/a-unique-approach-to-innovation

Fast Company‘s Best Workplaces for Innovators issue (September 2020) is available online now, and the print issue will be on newsstands beginning August 11, 2020. Join the Best Workplaces for Innovators conversation using #FCBestWorkplaces.

About Fast Company

Fast Company is one of the world’s leading business media brands, with an editorial focus on innovation with deep emphasis on creativity, technology, social impact, leadership, and design. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication Inc., and can be found online at fastcompany.com.

About WillowTree

WillowTree helps the world’s most admired companies, including HBO, Johnson & Johnson, and National Geographic, build applications that make a difference. Founded in 2008 as a mobile app and web development company, we’ve grown with the digital ecosystem to support every stage of the product life cycle. Our teams provide end-to-end, full-stack development, strategy, design, and growth marketing services while baking in considerations for SEO, accessibility, and security. To learn more, visit willowtreeapps.com.

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