Our Impact

No cookie cutter here. We apply our knowledge and expertise to your unique situation. What we deliver is customized to meet your needs, advance your mission, and elevate the impact you seek to create. Here are a few examples of our work.

Inspire Solidarity

East Side Freedom Library

The East Side Freedom Library’s mission is to inspire solidarity, advocate for justice and work toward equity for all. Through several stakeholder gatherings and conversations, Creation In Common facilitated an in-depth process to co-create the organization’s mission and values. Community dialogues gave voice to individuals who rarely get heard and empowered them to shape the purpose and direction of the organization. The result was a shared expression of how the East Side Freedom Library can use its collections and programming to create a meaningful impact.

Aligning for Change

Greater Twin Cities United Way

Strategic Planning

Raising and investing over $80 million a year in the community, the Greater Twin Cities United Way is the third largest in the United States. Staying abreast of the changing needs of its communities and donors, the board and senior leadership team positioned the organization to focus its impact on 10 specific goals to fight poverty. Creation In Common assisted the organization in redeveloping its mission statement and led a comprehensive strategic planning process to align resources to four strategies to achieve these goals. The deliverable was a simple one-page plan. The outcome was an enhanced collaborative effort. At the end of the process every department across the organization was able to see how its work contributed to the overall effort and how they can improve their execution toward enhancing community impact.

Creating a Cultural Resource

KERA Public Broadcasting North Texas

Planning, Branding

Art & Seek reaches over 4 million KERA viewers and listeners per week, staging comprehensive cultural content on the web, radio, and television. Created at a time when cultural reporting was being cut by local media sources, Creation In Common assisted in the formation and planning of this multimedia unit, resulting in a partnership with over 3,000 arts organization. Also, Creation In Common worked with KERA leadership and audiences to develop the Art & Seek brand. Within five years, Art & Seek has become an award-winning leader in cultural coverage, putting the arts front and center and becoming an essential media resource driving arts participation throughout the region. www.artandseek.net


Innovation Beyond the Classroom


Name Ideation, Brand Strategy, Communications Planning

When Minnesota’s McKnight Foundation created an organization to champion youth development, Creation In Common was selected to name it and establish a communications strategy. Through in-depth conversations with field leaders and young people, Youthprise emerged as the right choice to capture the intent and focus of this new effort. Today, the organization convenes the best thinkers in the field, provides funding to scale promising youth development initiatives, and plays a significant role in guiding statewide out-of-school time policy efforts.

Smart Strategy for Smart Play

Minnesota Children's Museum

Strategic Planning

Ready to broaden its mission of “sparking children’s learning through play,” the Minnesota Children’s Museum engaged Creation In Common to develop community impact goals, set strategic pathways, and develop a three-year rolling work plan. Strategies focused on reaching 600,000 Minnesotans per year (a 50% increase) with high quality play-based early learning experiences. Within 12-months the Museum was well on its way toward achieving this goal. Board and staff have successfully launched a statewide expansion with the opening of a new satellite museum in Rochester Minnesota and the creation of 14 “Smart Play Spots” in libraries and community centers across the state. Creation In Common’s follow-up work to assess the Museum’s program and exhibit focus, has helped prepare it for a comprehensive expansion of their main location in Saint Paul Minnesota.

Finding a Common Purpose

Dallas Theater Center

Board Development

In recent years, The Dallas Theater Center’s ability to forge deep community partnerships has become an essential organizational asset. Artistic and educational collaborations have heightened the organization’s reputation and opened new opportunities for creative exploration. Creation In Common was engaged to help the Theater conceive of how a new board committee could amplify this effort. Together with board and staff leaders, we developed a logic model to clarify roles and define a connection between staff activities, expected outcomes, and the larger community impact everyone wanted to achieve. The result was a deep sense of purpose among all involved focused on building influence and creating public value.

Bright Stars

McKnight Foundation

Research, Communications

The McKnight Foundation commissioned Creation In Common to research the impact of art on rural communities in greater Minnesota. Focus groups and one-on-one interviews were conducted in seven communities with populations of less than 14,000 people including: artists, arts leaders, volunteers, audience members, high school students, business owners, library officials, city officials, and state representatives. The resulting report, entitled Bright Stars, identified four core findings about the affect art and artistic activity has on the viability and vitality of the communities visited. It fueled conversations statewide and nationally about the role of the arts in building economic sustainability for rural communities. In 2006, the Council on Foundations awarded Bright Stars the Wilmer L. Shields Silver Medal.

“There’s no ‘dis’ in my ability”

Opportunity Partners

Branding, Communications Planning, Public Awareness Campaign

Facing cuts in government support for services, Opportunity Partners turned to Creation In Common to strengthen their brand identity and communications in order to broaden their audience for support of their services. After conducting a stakeholder assessment, messaging was focused on how Opportunity Partners helps to redefine the community’s perception of people with disabilities proving that “everyone, when given an opportunity, can add value to our world.” Under the new tag line – Ability Redefined – Creation In Common helped launch the “there’s no ‘dis’ in my ability” public awareness campaign and worked with staff to implement an internal branding strategy.

Connecting the Organization to the Cause

Teenwise Minnesota

Name Ideation, Branding, Marketing Plan

As Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention, and Parenting (MOAPPP) completed a comprehensive strategic planning process, the organization recognized that its role in the state had broaden from working primarily on teen pregnancy prevention to focusing on adolescent sexual health and parenting. For years, the organization had struggled with gaining institutional recognition for its work, let alone effectively promoting its cause. Creation In Common immediately saw an opportunity to create a direct connection in the public’s mind between the organization and the cause it was seeking to promote. Working with board, staff, community partners, and supporters a naming ideation process was facilitated along with the creation of a comprehensive marketing plan. In 2011, MOAPPP re-launched itself as Teenwise Minnesota.