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A Case Study in Internal Communication

St. Mark Youth Enrichment is a nonprofit organization serving hundreds of children in Northeast Iowa through before- and after-school and summer learning programs.


In order to support tremendous internal growth, the leadership team identified the need to improve internal communication across the rapidly expanding team by 1) improving clarity of communication to all levels, 2) ensuring two-way communication, not just top-down, and 3) leveraging tools and strategies that build engagement among staff at all levels.


Through a community innovation process, 37 leaders from six different companies were engaged to help generate solutions for St. Mark’s challenge. We leveraged the collective knowledge and experience of this diverse group of professionals through a custom Innovation Works® recipe. Participants included leaders from both small and large businesses with skill sets in human resources, technology, marketing, and management.

Through a game-based process, teams focused on creating solutions that leverage existing technology and processes. They developed, refined, and pitched ideas. From there, three key strategies were chosen and participants worked together to create and pitch implementation plans for those strategies.


“We learned more in this single day than we could have in months. The best part was my team and I were there to hear all the ideas and walked away with strategies we can implement right away using our existing platform, along with others we can add as we build capacity.”

- Dawn Cogan, Executive Director


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