We are creative catalysts.

Civic Creatives organizes experiences that help citizens more creatively engage and design social solutions to civic challenges that matter to them.

We produce interactive events, tools, and services that foster the discovery, ideation, prototyping, and actualization of community-driven civic solutions.

To do our work, we harness “common cultural denominators” like storytelling,
food, creativity, technology, and public space to help people connect with each other and reimagine their collective experiences.

Our efforts aim to create social and environmental change that contributes positively to the well-being of citizens.

How We Got Our Start

Civic Creatives was incorporated January 2015 as a strategic pivot from the non-profit design firm, Catalysts by Design, which was founded by current Principal, De Nichols, and partners, Cambrie Nelson and Emily Bornstein. Catalysts by Design was developed in 2013 through the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and accelerated with the support and investment of Points of Light Civic Accelerator and Clinton Foundation. During this time, it partnered with communities and social good organizations through its flagship initiatives, Design Serves and United Story, which used design and storytelling to help citizens problem-solve social challenges.

Upon forming as a for-profit, Civic Creatives, shifted into a social enterprise model to welcome organizations as partners and utilize generated revenue to fund social initiatives sparked by its team. The structure of Civic Creatives is comprised of a  collective of activists, organizers, educators, facilitators, and creators who it deploys to help unlock social impact through its work. These leaders are called the Creative Catalysts, and they help unearth creative social change across thirteen American cities. Recent clients and project partners have included: Arch Grants, Great Rivers Greenway, Points of Light, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Red Bull, Regional Arts Commission, Sodexo, St. Louis Metro Market, StartingBloc, Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, and Youth Service America.

Values at Our Core

 

RADICAL LISTENING

We believe that the experts of social topics are the people who experience them most personally and deeply. We seek to learn and understand how people experience and perceive the regional food system and
translate that into a brand that is responsive and responsible to what we learn.

EXPERIENCE-BASED CO-CREATION

The best and most creative ideas do not emerge solely from sitting at desks, tinkering on our screens, or sketching in our notebooks. We create, explore, and cultivate opportunities within our process to have fun, play with ideas, and use games to help us see different perspectives. With this project, we would seek to do this with stakeholders and community members throughout the design process.

LOW-EGO, BUT HIGH PRIDE

Yes, we carry great confidence and pride in our ability to execute great ideas and design dynamic outputs. We do not, however, carry great ego to allow this to get in the way of our collective work as a team or with our partners. Part of what boosts confidence in a project is the sense of collective ownership that is felt, and we hold that as a foremost standard in our practice.

BRILLIANCE IN THE COMMON

We see value in the simple things, and we believe that inspiration and brilliance can be sparked from even the most common of moments. This allows us to not take for granted any part of our process, nor any space, thing, or person who we encounter.

Creative Catalysts

Civic Creatives is building a community of changemakers committed to catalyzing creative approaches to civic progress. We call this network of awesome humans the Creative Catalysts, and it includes our team members as well as individual partners of collaborators of our work.