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CSD Named to Fast Company’s List of World's Most Innovative Companies for 2022

March 14, 2022

CSD Named to Fast Company’s List of World's Most Innovative Companies for 2022

March 14, 2022
March 14, 2022

Communication Service for the Deaf joins the ranks of Canva, Microsoft, SpaceX, and more

World’s Most Innovative Companies

Communication Service for the Deaf has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022 for our COVID-19 hotline, which made health and vaccine information easily accessible for Deaf people during the height of the pandemic.

The World’s Most Innovative Companies list provides both a snapshot and a road map for the future of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy. This year’s list honors businesses that are making the biggest impact on their industries and culture as a whole — thriving in today’s ever-changing world. CSD is honored to be recognized among other awe-inspiring companies creating some of the most inspiring accomplishments of the 21st century.

“The world’s most innovative companies play an essential role in addressing the most pressing issues facing society, whether they’re fighting climate change by spurring decarbonization efforts, ameliorating the strain on supply chains, or helping us reconnect with one another over shared passions,” said Fast Company Deputy Editor David Lidsky.  

CSD’s COVID-19 Hotline in American Sign Language

Enter CSD’s COVID-19 Hotline. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, communication barriers heightened health risks for the Deaf community. Information changed daily and the federal government, under the previous administration, was slow to provide ASL interpretation of COVID-briefings — to the point of legal action. To support Deaf communities, we established an ASL-based COVID-19 hotline to make information directly available to Deaf people in their native language, without any third parties involved.

CSD continued rolling out COVID-19 services in ASL, establishing state-specific COVID-19 hotlines. The State of Virginia became the first state to provide real-time ASL support for COVID-19 and vaccine information. By partnering with CSD’s Connect Direct division, Deaf Virginians were able to connect with signing Deaf representatives who were trained to give information about local recommendations and restrictions. 

“A Vocational Rehabilitation counselor said I did a great job helping his client book first and second vaccinations,” one hotline agent said. “He had never heard of this platform and asked a few times if I was really Deaf. I laughed and said, ‘Yes, I am 100% Deaf!’ The counselor thinks the platform is wonderful and wants to find a way to continue working with CSD to support his clients.” 

CSD COVID-19 ASL Hotline







Communication Equity is the Future

Positive reactions like these are why Connect Direct partners with states and organizations to standardize communication equity for Deaf people in all areas of their lives. With Connect Direct, just as a caller can “press two” for Spanish to access support in their native language, Deaf callers can communicate in ASL by clicking the “ASL NOW’ button on a company’s website.

Our flexible direct communication model works anywhere communication happens, including with several of our existing partners such as Google, Comcast, and Cox Communications. Our research shows that when a call center partners with Connect Direct, Deaf customer calls increase by 300-533%. The data is clear: there is a huge demand for accessible services like ASL Now, and it’s time for more organizations to take notice and adopt this simple strategy to connect people with one another. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted an already pervasive problem in society – Deaf people are not given access to information, even when that information could mean the difference between life and death,” said CSD CEO Chris Soukup. “We are working towards a future where communications technology is designed with Deaf people’s needs in mind rather than addressed as an afterthought or worse, forgotten altogether. Our collective innovations build that future.”

Explore the full 2022 list of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, 528 organizations whose efforts are reshaping their businesses, industries, and the broader culture. These organizations are making the biggest impact with their initiatives across 52 categories, including the most innovative corporate social responsibilityenergy, and social good companiesFollow along with the conversation online using the hashtag #FCMostInnovative.

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