Studio C Innovation Program

Building a community of nonprofit innovators in Cincinnati

Partner: United Way of Greater Cincinnati

Project Years: 2014-2017

Location: Cincinnati, OH


United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) was stuck. They had set bold goals to reduce poverty, but noticed their partner agencies lacked the resources to change up their strategies to help move the needle. To truly make an impact, United Way wanted to help nonprofit agencies in Cincinnati needed a way to approach their work differently. Meanwhile, United Way saw in Design Impact an opportunity to introduce human-centered design.


We launched Studio C with United Way of Greater Cincinnati in 2014. As the lead facilitator and curriculum developer, we created an ongoing workshop series to teach nonprofits how to tackle complex issues using creative problem-solving methods.


A team sketches out their idea (Studio C, 2016)


We developed dozens of new tools and a curriculum based in creativity, leadership development, and social practices. We also coached dozens of teams to launch bold, interesting prototypes to test their ideas.


In three years, over 100 nonprofit organizations walked into Studio C with sticky challenges and walked away with new perspectives, fresh ideas, and more resources, tools, and connections. 


“Stakeholder Analysis” chart from a Studio C workbook (2017)

Studio C gave us the tools to unpack the challenges to the problems our organization faces every day. After the process, the fixes seemed so obvious, like, ‘how did we not start here?’


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