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Letter from the Founder

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Mission and Values

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We Believe

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Why We Do What We Do

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Our Highlights and Achievements

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I. 2017 in a Year

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Showing Up for the Community

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Gamifying Creativity - SPARK

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Expanding Outreach Through Digital

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II. Lessons Learned

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III. Awards and Recognition

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Empowering Individuals and Transforming Organizations

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The Year Ahead

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Thank You

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Contact Us


R E T H I N K I N G C R E AT I V I T Y InnovatorsBox® was founded in 2016 with the belief that fostering everyone’s innate creative mindset is the key to a better and more innovative future. A creative mindset helps one live a limitless future, become a better problem solver, and turn problems into opportunities regardless of the job title or industry. When I found no other company focusing on the empowerment of the creative mindset, I went on a quest to redefine society’s understanding of innovation and creativity to show the different ways we are all creative. Gallup reported in 2016 that over 87% of today’s workforce is feeling stuck and lack a creative outlet. What if more professionals felt otherwise? I knew how much of a difference it made in my personal career when I built a creative mindset. I wanted to help others learn how to thrive too. So, what began as a dream to help one more person from getting stuck at work became a journey of empowering over 3,300 leaders in 19 cities from 12 industries in just two years. Through games like SPARK and programs like Creative Jump and Mindful Play, for example,

I am proud to say we made creative thinking more accessible, affordable, and easily understandable. Starting anything new is hard, even more so when you are bootstrapping it, working in education, and taking on a career transition. I always knew there would be obstacles, but never knew how far I would go until I made it to the other side. We’ve still got a long way to go, but it has been inspiring to see the positive changes our participants go through and the impact they experience as a result of the programs and products that we created. This first Impact Report is our celebration of the two-year milestone at InnovatorsBox®, a reflection of our journey, and a look toward our future. It is also my opportunity to express deep gratitude for what you have done as a community to help us get here. We cannot wait to see the future we create with you. A world where we ask more questions, find more answers, solve more problems, and celebrate creativity for all because we are all creative.


Monica H. Kang Founder & CEO January 2018

M IS S I ON A N D VALUES OUR MISSION To unlock creativity for all.

WE BELIEVE Everyone is creative in different ways. Creativity as a skill is best fostered through curiosity, imagination, and questioning. Quality over quantity is key to long-term transformation.

90% of participants expressed that our programs gave them renewed confidence and insights to be more creative and found a significant change in their professional and personal lives.



WH Y W E D O W HAT WE DO 93% of executives indicate innovation will drive the greater proportion of their revenue and growth (PWC). But if 87% of professionals worldwide feel stuck and disengaged at work (Gallup 2016), how are companies and organizations able to grow?




of professionals worldwide feel stuck at work

of all American professionals feel stressed due to work

of all American professionals Feel limited at work

(Gallup, 2016)

(APA, 2015)

(Gallup, 2016)

InnovatorsBox® works to bridge this gap. We catalyze sustainable change at the level where it matters the most: your mindset. We believe that everyone is innately creative and that creativity has the power to solve every organization’s challenges, no matter the industry. Whether you are addressing company culture, professional development, or any other organizational challenges, our customizable approach targets your specific pain point through creativity. Our educational programs and products help develop and grow professionals’ creative mindsets to catalyze both personal and organizational change. Through interactive exercises and facili-


tated discussions, professionals reflect, recharge, and learn how to integrate creativity into their daily lives. As a result, individuals are more open-minded, engaged, collaborative, and better leaders. They become more than their job titles as they innovate new solutions to disrupt the status quo. Organizations are more innovative, productive and efficient. Society becomes more inclusive as we accept every individual and their unique creative potential. And the world starts to transform through the limitless possibilities of creativity.


O U R H I G H L I G H TS & ACHI EV EMENTS 2017 in a Year 2017 was a year of impactful growth. This year, we shared our work in creativity and innovation with over 2,700 individuals across 12 industries in 12 cities, including Hyderabad, India. We have also spoken, facilitated, and led over 65 events to make creative learning accessible for our community and clients.

Our work in 2017 validated the need of creative thinking across different industries and generations. Participants ranged from senior executive leaders and managers to new employees and students. We also worked across different industries in Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits and higher education, including both highly creative companies and companies with 50+ years of legacy that are struggling to build a creative culture. We are proud of the diversity of industries and participants in this year’s work.

Overall, our engagement in 2017 grew over 450% compared to our first year in 2016. We also created a new SPARK deck (SPARK2) and we plan to create 2 more products in the beginning of 2018 to make creative learning affordable and implementable beyond the workshops and services we provide for corporations and community.


Buffalo, NY

Chicago, IL Indianapolis, IN San Francisco, CA

Las Vegas, NV

Austin, TX

New York, NY Washington, DC/DMV Arlington, VA

New Orleans, LA

U.S. cities we engaged in 2017.



Showing up for the community People from different industries and communities have been reaching out to us more than ever, and we made more effort this year to be involved in different conferences, workshops, and events where we were invited to speak, facilitate, or moderate. We also made more effort to be intentional, proactive, and available as a thought leader in creativity by travelling to speak at conferences and meeting our clients in their home cities. For instance, we traveled to Indianapolis, Chicago, Charlotte, and New York for client workshops and speaking engagements. We spoke and hosted workshops about creativity at events celebrating female leadership, innovation, business growth, nonprofit, and public good like the WBENC National Conference, Annual Power Conference, Gensler’s DC Culture Salon, Annual Public Good App Festival, Day of Innovation, and Johns Hopkins University Women’s Leadership Conference for Alumni. At some events, we were invited to speak as the keynote speaker. We spoke about the role creativity and innovation plays in the future of workplace, generation gap, diversity and inclusion, and culture development. Being proactively sought out by other businesses is a testament to the value and impact of our work. We will continue to use these platforms for greater visibility and new community engagements so that we, as a society, can actively embrace a creative culture.



Our community shares their experience

In a world where the belief that people are either creative or not, Monica Kang and InnovatorsBox® help to provide a framework through which anyone can connect with creativity. Monica presented at our 2017 Women’s Leadership Conference and the feedback was tremendous. [InnovatorsBox®] inspired many participants, who were originally creatively tentative, to experiment and see problem solving as an opportunity to embrace creativity. —Vicky Schneider Associate Director, Affinity Programs, Johns Hopkins University



There is a sort of “myth of creativity” that prevents some people from engaging in activities that they view as creative. [InnovatorsBox®] provided specific tools and strategies that teach people to be creative in diverse settings….taking the focus away from perfection and redirecting it toward problem solving. [Monica’s] personal story and professional experiences are compelling and provide a great frame through which creativity is accessible to all people in all disciplines. The hands-on practice and exercise were wonderful. —Participant at the Women’s Leadership Conference, Remarkable Women: The Art of Invention, Johns Hopkins University

InnovatorsBox® was instrumental in helping develop the inaugural WBENC NextGen Program. This inaugural program for NextGen women entrepreneurs was launched at the 2017 WBENC National Conference and Business Fair. Monica, the founder of InnovatorsBox®, worked closely with our team in the months leading up to the event to help us identify an energized and interactive session for our inaugural meeting and onsite her InnovatorsBox® workshop delivered the collaboration, engagement and foundation to help us build a strong NextGen community at WBENC. —Andrew Gaeckle, Director Strategic Planning and Jill Sasso, Senior Director Human Resources, Women’s Business Enterprises National Council (WBENC)

I had the pleasure of working with InnovatorsBox® earlier this year. InnovatorsBox® led a half-day workshop for one of our corporate partners and also led a breakout session at our Day of Innovation conference. Participants in both sessions were extremely pleased, rating each 5/5 in post-event surveys. Creativity is an important element of any innovation initiative and culture. InnovatorsBox did a great job championing and teaching this to our attendees. —Jason Williams, Executive Director, Centrict, Indiana’s Innovation Network



Gamifying Creativity with SPARK Our SPARK cards have been such a big hit we created SPARK 2. As Pulitzer Prize novelist Thomas Berger says, “the art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.” We were excited to help our customers understand that one simple openended question with curiosity is a start of strengthening one’s creative mindset. Across SPARK1 and SPARK2, we compiled over a 100 thoughtful questions on curiosity, reflection,

and creativity so that users can build meaningful conversations anywhere they go. In 2017, we were able to see how users have been utilizing SPARK cards to lead community workshops, team meetings, and international conference networking to open up a deeper level of engagement. Over 200 users have already used SPARK 1 and SPARK 2 and we are excited to hear about how different leaders use SPARK in various ways as we build new products.

“SPARK served as a great ice breaker at our Women Leading Innovation event. We brought together professionals from various industries and scattered the cards at cocktail tables to help guests connect and build relationships. I highly recommend SPARK for your next event.” — Joanne Zhang | A SPARK User and Fan



Expanding Outreach Through Digital We understand that we cannot always meet everyone in person. So we started to use more online tools to engage with our broader community in order to be intentional about our outreach. With webinars and Facebook Live interview series such as Creative Minds and Online Summit, information and resources were made more accessible to those not located in the Washington, DC area and who could not afford to have our programs in their cities. For more information about available resources, visit our official website at www.InnovatorsBox or refer to our press page on



Lessons Learned We are aware that there is always room for growth and improvement. As we strive to provide the best, we learn from feedback and reflection about the things we can do better. These insights directly contributed to our later successes in 2017 and on how we prioritize our work in 2018. Sharing our lessons learned is our way of holding ourselves accountable for the journey we are taking with you. This is our commitment to become a better version of InnovatorsBoxÂŽ.

Communication Our customers enjoy quality content over quantity, with clear messaging, more accessibility, and regular updates. This meant that we had to spend more time improving our messaging, social media presence, website, and online events. Participating in online events, webinars, and Facebook Live permitted us to reach the customers who wanted budget-friendly access to creativity without regional restrictions. Knowing that our customers enjoyed regular updates, we started to spend more time putting together a thoughtful bi-monthly newsletter with insightful informative content, helpful resources, information on upcoming events, and announcements.

Capacity Live events require more operations and marketing support than our current small team can manage. Therefore, we shifted our focus to co-host events with partners and provide online programs. We also focused from quantity to quality by reducing the number of events we hosted. Through this experience, we learned that we have to be more strategic and thoughtful if we want to scale our community programs at a national and international level. We decided to reevaluate our community programs and study how we can do it better and make it easier to scale.

We are grateful for all the feedback, recommendations, and comments we have received in the past two years and looking forward to keeping them in mind as we strive to thrive.



Awards and Recognitions Let us take a moment to celebrate! We were deeply humbled by the various national awards we received for the work we have done. Each award was a reminder of how far we have come together as a community and how much further we want to go.

Many of the awards gave us critical opportunities to connect with new communities, resources, mentorship, customers, and fans with whom we wanted to connect. We look forward to continue living up to creating the value our customers seek and going further than they expect.

Young Innovators Award, 2017 Awarded by WeWork Creator Magazine in recognition of the work done in the space of Creativity and Innovation.

Women Empowerment Expo Awards, 2017 One award given to one female entrepreneur who is going far and beyond to build a company and positive impact.

WBENC NextGen Choice Award, 2017 Given to two NextGen female entrepreneurs in the WBENC network who have demonstrated both growth and community development for other Next Generation fellows.

50 on Fire Award, 2017 (Education) by DC Inno Given to the top 50 DC Tech leaders and companies that are transforming their industries.



We were also excited to have the opportunity to represent our community of innovators by attending national and international events as a selected representative. It gave us an opportunity to celebrate the importance of creativity with a greater audience, and gain wisdom on how we can do more. For instance, in 2017, we were honored to be:

WeDC Ambassador at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2017 held in Austin, Texas in March. We attended as DC’s selected city brand ambassador to represent the city’s inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship.

Alumni Delegate at the 2017 American Express Leadership Academy Global Alumni Summit (AmExLeads) held in New York City in April. We participated in a two day global leadership training as one of the 50 Fellows and learned how we can become a better global leader.

Member of the U.S. Delegation to the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) held in Hyderabad, India in December. Out of the 1,500 attendees, we met with over 50 leaders from 20 countries to spread our message of empowered mindsets that can transform society at large. From left to right: Speaking at WBENC Conference in Las Vegas; the team celebrating 50 on Fire Award in Washington DC; attending the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, India; and hosting creative workshop at the Creative Problem Solving Institute in Buffalo, New York.



E M P OW E R I N G INDI V I DUALS AND T RA NS FO R M I N G O RGANI ZATI O NS Our core belief is that creativity and innovation empowers individuals and transforms organizations and society at large. Throughout our work, we have been very conscious and mindful about ensuring that we engage with a diverse range of people, from Millennials to Baby Boomers, employees to managers, especially senior leadership

for corporations, and many more. This is why we are always thrilled to hear from our program participants how the programs have helped them gain more confidence about creative thinking, start new projects that they have been meaning to, get new jobs, get more work done, and be happier at work and with their life in general.

“..the exercises got the group to bond together quickly, to come up with dozens of new ideas, and helped us re-examine what we could be capable of if we deliberately made creativity a part of our daily routine. The world is in desperate need of what their team has to offer!” —Adam L. Hesch, Associate Shift Manager, Global Security Operations Center, Facebook

“The workshop was a reminder as well as a practice of how we as individuals and as a team can be imaginative and innovative in many different aspects of life. Needless to say, we all felt like better employees and better people after the workshop ended.” —Amanda Gossman, Consultant, IBM “..a valuable, results-focused, and enjoyable experience. I left the day with concrete ideas on how to enhance my team’s day-to-day creative process to get results.” —Skyler Showell, Showell Ventures & Consulting PLLC

“InnovatorsBox is an amazing space to open your mind. It gives you the opportunity to reflect on personal aspects of your life and engage with them on a deeper level. The structure of the exercises helps you think through and see things from a different perspective.” —Chelsea Moubarak, Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State “Monica does not cut corners or function as some bureaucratic training requirement on creativity and innovation. I only recommend Monica and InnovatorsBox to those who are serious about nurturing and growing these values in their everyday personal and professional lives.” —Jeremy Pesner, Technology and Policy Analyst, Baltimore City Department of Social Services Fellow, Baltimore Corps 15


THE YEAR AHEAD In 2017, our priorities were to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of creativity and innovation across different generations and industries. In doing so, we delivered, participated and engaged in over 65 events and established our brand and presence—particularly in Washington, DC, New York and San Francisco. While the majority of our work was delivered through speaking engagements, workshops, and facilitations, we have also reached new customers and communities through our product, SPARK, and online engagement, such as Creative Minds and InnovStory interview series. We will continue to engage with diverse communities and build long term relationships with all for a lasting change at a societal level.

Our 2018 goal is sustainable growth. We will focus on being bolder and going further to reach more professionals through providing consistent quality products and transformational experiences. From speaking at diverse conferences to creating new products that professionals can use to make creative thinking more routine, we will be spending more time strategizing how we can reach more professionals who need creative leadership. We also envision working with corporation change management in creative culture and team building by working on larger client projects. To continue building our community impact, we will be looking for new ways to embed our community impact engagements to help our customers better understand how working with us is also helping other communities gain creative confidence.

2018 will be a critical year for InnovatorsBox®; join us in making the impact possible.



T H A N K YOU It is an absolute honor to spend every hour thinking of new ways to empower new communities with creativity. It means that we are helping another person live with more creative confidence, gain better understanding about diversity in creativity, and learn how to collaborate better. We have the joy of working with top leaders who understand the importance of investing in teams and in their mindsets to see lasting collaboration and growth. We also get to meet with many other amazing innovators who are taking every step to debunk what it means to be a creative in law, government, nonprofit, and entertainment sectors. We cannot wait to continue walking the path of creating a world of creativity for all. And we thank you very much for taking the time, support, and love to help us build this powerful movement to make creativity accessible for all. In particular, we want to express our gratitude to our team members, advisors, mentors, interns, and super supporters who provided critical

support throughout our journey. We do not know where we would be without their passion and support and we want to give them another big thank you for being who they are. A special shoutout to our team Monica Kang, Monica Escobar, Aakriti Pandey, Aysia Woods, Koby Arthur; our advisors, Skyler Showell, Jessica Collison, Lindsay Young; our mentors, Kristina Francis, Alex Alvarez, Karen Williams, Paige Adams; our super interns Catherine Pham, Kaitlin Mackie, Mithila Samak; and our power supporters Jane Kim Coloseus, Jonathan Diaz, Lola Han, Benjamin Mena, Michelle McGuire, Craig Zelizer, Eric Roy, Liz Whitehead and Julia Westfall. We also want to thank our community partners for their contribution and support. Thank you WeWork, Funnybone Toys, Impact Hub DC, Made in DC, A Childhood List, Coach Diversity Institute, A Taste of Heaven, Social Tables and a Grant on a Mission for your support! Together, we will thrive and create a more beautiful future.

Here is to another transformative year together.



C ONTACT US Company/InnovatorsBox InnovatorBox InnovatorsBox InnovatorsBox

P.O. Box 73231 Washington DC 20056-3231

NAICS: 611430, 611710

DUNS: 080160558

I N N O V AT O R S B O X . C O M

InnovatorsBox | Impact report 2017  

This first Impact Report is our celebration of the two-year milestone at InnovatorsBox®, a reflection of our journey, and a look toward our...

InnovatorsBox | Impact report 2017  

This first Impact Report is our celebration of the two-year milestone at InnovatorsBox®, a reflection of our journey, and a look toward our...