Case Studies

Creative Community of Practice (CCoP) | NewWave

About the Client: NewWave is a globally-recognized, federally-certified provider of innovative business solutions for government and industry.

Audience: NewWave Staff

Project Details: In 2017, I entered NewWave as a Senior Designer positioned in their Business Development department, separate from the branding design work being done in the Marketing team. Because of the siloed organization structure, we had little opportunity to collaborate or develop relationships and share industry information, so I led a grassroots movement that would form as a Community of Practice (an extracurricular club/group, sponsored by the company). The group’s goal is to share knowledge, promote learning and spark innovative thought through creative design and design thinking best practices in order to set a foundation of creative agility across the organization, equipping NewWave to excel in product and service delivery. 

The Creative Community of Practice (CCoP) at NewWave benefits members by feeding curiosity and encouraging them to develop bold perspectives, advocating for problem solving with empathy, building creative design abilities, conditioning brain for creative agility, and cross-departmental networking with peers.

My Contribution: I joined NewWave’s board of other CoP leaders, met with potential members and we created the group’s official charter, goals, member benefits and communications materials. Every 6 months, we plan a schedule of monthly lunch gatherings (pre-pandemic) that always feature delish food (of course), a creative agility exercise/game, and a relaxed, interactive presentation on member-chosen topics. In every appropriate moment, I tied back what we were learning to what I’ve learned about the psychology and neurology of the creative mind, according to Kaufman & Gregoire’s ‘Wired to Create.‘ We added quarterly fine art exploration events (freestyle paint nights with unusual mediums) to the lineup as a benefit we could offer all staff, and also created ‘Pop-Up Art Stops’ for interactive creative moments in the office. Throughout, I’ve led presentations, facilitated gatherings, designed events and presentations that align up with group goals and needs, coordinated dining choices, procured supplies, etc. 

CCoP Email Intro

Due to COVID-19 sending everyone to work from home, we’ve pivoted the group and scaled back its activities, but we still have participation with the group through a monthly Creativity Challenge with raffle prizes at stake.

CCoP Header

Outcomes: In nearly 4 years, the CCoP became a flourishing group of 75-100 curious, creative people. We hosted regular lunch events, and several hands-on fine art exploration events per year, playing with mediums like watercolor, alcohol ink on tile, acrylic paint pouring, henna, oil pastels resin and edible baked goods. In 2019, the group even used one of these events to create 36″x42″ abstract canvas art pieces to literally paint the company culture of creative innovation on the walls of their newest, modern office space.

Topical presentations covered everything, from Presentation Design, to the Power & Principals of Design, Design Thinking & UX, Creative Writing, Human-Centered Design, Color Theory, Exercise & Creativity, Adobe Spark Demo, Music & the Creative Mind, Photography Hacks, Abstract Food Composition, Typography & Lettering, Data Visualization Tips for PPT, 10 Things Designers Should Know About People and creative agility exercises/games. This gave staff members opportunity share insights they have and also serves as great stress relief as people take a moment to change from analytical to intuitive mindsets amid a busy work day.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to do these [CCoP] activities. It has made me a better employee, better able to embrace each day. I think often about the principals that have been taught – creating a growth mindset that is enhanced by a "creative" break.”
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