12 Stories of Innovation in Practice

12 Stories
12 new stories about innovation in practice are now live in the Innovation Stories collection.

Today, we’re excited to release 12 new stories of innovation into our permanent collection. Nine of the featured organizations participated in EmcArts’s Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts and three participated in the New Pathways Program.

These stories are a treasure trove of insights on overcoming obstacles, embracing ambiguity, and enrolling your staff and board in the process of transformative change. I encourage you to browse the summaries below and click through for the full stories.

As you read, consider: what areas of innovation do you see emerging across these diverse organizations? What shifts in organizational practice are emerging?

Featured Stories

  • Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, a municipally-owned center experienced a transformational shift in its organizational structure in order to manage governance confusion and funding issues.
  • New York Live Arts (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater Workshop) began the process of completing a merger to create a new choreographic institution based in DTW’s space.
  • Center of Creative Arts (COCA) developed COCAbiz…the Art of Performance, a series of workshops for the business community that uses multi-disciplinary artistic tools to illuminate and improve the creative capacity of businesses.
  • Children’s Theatre Company created Kidcentricity, an intensive program to change children from observers of theater productions to participants in theater-making.
  • Curious Theatre Company, a provocative and socially committed theatre company, focused on alternative programming in order to achieve financial stability without compromising its strong mission.
  • The Civilians developed a New Media Initiative that uses social media both to interact with audiences and to develop artistic content.
  • HERE created HERE: On Demand, a 24/7 online community that integrates all of the organization’s social networking components.
  • MAPP International Productions developed the Cultural Investor Program to promote creative interaction between individual MAPP artists and the public, with the aim of generating new resources for the organization and its artists.
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival developed Collaborative Workspaces, an online communications system
 with personal, project, organization, and public workspace levels.
  • STREB created the Teen Action Club, a new initiative that uses action and movement to engage a diverse group of teens (ages 13-18) in physical, artistic, and social interactions that help them achieve their personal best.
  • University Musical Society expanded its concept of
“lobby” beyond physical space, creating a virtual lobby that interfaces with
activities in UMS’s three physical lobbies, through The Lobby Project.
  • Young Audiences Arts for Learning Connecticut (YAC), a key provider in Connecticut’s arts education landscape, overcame its challenges and reframes its identity within its local community and among Board members.

Tracking Innovation Over Time

Since these stories come from earlier rounds of the Innovation Lab and New Pathways program, many of these projects were completed by earlier than 2011. Stay tuned, because we’ll be following up with these groups to see where they are now!

Karina Mangu-Ward is the former Director of Strategic Initiatives at EmcArts.