Charlottesville, VA, July 29, 2020 – Fast 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, as well as its technology partners, including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and SAP.
WillowTree was honored for its problems-focused approach to innovation, whereby team members have dedicated time each week to work on innovation projects that solve for a particular need that is often tied to socially impactful work. The company’s innovation practices have 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.
Read Fast Company’s take on WillowTree’s unique approach to innovation and how the organization brings new technology to its clients.
What it Means to Be a Top Workplace for Innovators
The 2020 Best Workplaces for Innovators ranks 100 winners from a variety of industries, including computer science, biotech, consumer packaged goods, nonprofit, education, financial services, cybersecurity, and engineering. 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. The 2020 awards feature workplaces from around the world with several of the honorees based outside the U.S.
“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. “This new list of the Best Workplaces for Innovators celebrates organizations that have fostered innovative thinking by investing in technology, research and development, and their employees.”
“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 — who has been with the company since its founding in 2008 as a mobile app development agency. “Providing the opportunities and resources for our talented teams to build innovative solutions to real world problems has never been more important.”
WillowTree’s Innovation Practice
WillowTree, which has grown dramatically over the past decade to now cover the full scope of the digital product lifecycle, has maximized the potential of its Social Impact work to test and validate new technologies and approaches, which they can then bring to clients. With its Social Impact partners, the WillowTree team invests in product development at a highly reduced cost or even pro-bono.
Through its Social Impact program, WillowTree has been able to test and validate novel and innovative technologies like:
- Head tracking using AR
- A Slack plugin that reduces bias
- A design system for the COVID-19 exposure framework
- Reconfiguration of out-of-the-box solutions
In non-pandemic circumstances, WillowTree team members are all onshore working from their home offices in Charlottesville, VA, Columbus, OH, and Durham, NC — so team members can quickly transition between innovation projects and client engagements, bringing valuable insights and learnings across the organization.
“When it comes to innovative ideas that solve for a societal or 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.
WillowTree was recently included among the twelve most significant vendors in digital product development by Forrester in their report, The Forrester Wave™: Digital Product Development Services, Q2 2020, in which WillowTree received the highest possible scores in the engineering quality and data-driven design criteria.
To see the complete list of this year’s Best Workplaces for Innovators, go to: fastcompany.com/best-workplaces-for-innovators/2020
To read Fast Company’s take on how WillowTree earned their spot on the list, 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 4, 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.
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. We craft digital products that solve business needs, drive market differentiation, and improve the user experience. Our teams provide end-to-end, full-stack development (including native mobile apps, web development, voice interfaces, and cross-platform), strategy, design, and growth marketing services while baking in considerations for SEO, accessibility, and security.