collaborative Power 

Collective action creates a catalyst for innovation.


Client Story -
Thriving Communities 2.0

ChallengeHow might we leverage our local arts and cultural assets to create community vibrancy and economic growth? This was the challenge facing the four regional community teams selected to be part of the second cohort of Thriving Communities, a program designed to support cities and towns to “grow from within.”  

Solution – Bridge Innovate® partnered with Thrive Regional Partnership and the Lyndhurst Foundation in the design and delivery of a 10-month community accelerator program. Thriving Communities is a powerful intersection between design thinking and creative-placemaking to enhance leadership and community development. Participating teams learned strategic approaches to leverage their artistic and cultural assets in order to spark economic vibrancy. Ideas were incubated, tested, and iterated in each individual community to foster continual feedback from fellow citizens and neighbors. As a result, the final strategies were authentically shaped by the people who live, work and play in these communities.

Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 5.43.55 AM.png
The Thriving Communities program has created a ripple effect throughout the entire community that keeps growing. Planning for this arts and culture project has been a catalyst for creating connections, collaboration, and change that will continue to make a lasting impact in our community for generations to come.
— Lisa Dotson | Team Lead | Athens, Tennessee
The Decatur team feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity to take part in the Thriving Communities program. This thought-provoking process has both opened our minds to ideas we wouldn’t have come up with before and given us the confidence to explore the implementation of those ideas. In addition, it has solidified our belief that our efforts to bring arts and cultural experiences to our citizens are valued by our community.
— Laura Smith | Team Lead | Decatur, Tennessee
Being part of the Thriving Communities program has served as a creative catalyst for thoughtful growth. It has brought the people of our community together in a way no other collaborative experience has.
— Susan Jarrett | Team Lead | Whitwell, Tennessee
A key outcome of the Thriving Communities program is the discovery of our region’s hidden gems: both people and places.’ It empowers emerging leaders to work together and create sustainable growth strategies that preserve a unique sense of place in their hometowns that can be celebrated for generations to come.
— Bridgett Massengill | President & CEO | Thrive Regional Partnership
What is so impactful about the Thriving Communities program is that it is taking this idea of ‘creative placemaking’ and applying it on a regional scale, but with a localized focus that takes the planning from a small group of officials and places it into the hands of the community as a whole. It gives them ownership of this whole process and makes it theirs.
— Rhett Bentley | Communications Manager | Thrive Regional Partnership

Client Story -
Thriving Communities 1.0

Challenge – Eight teams of community leaders from Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama were selected to participate in the initial Thriving Communities program focused on the design challenge: How might we utilize arts and culture to create community vibrancy and economic growth?

Solution – Using the best of design thinking methodology and asset mapping, Bridge Innovate® designed and delivered a three-month program coaching community teams to create synergistic arts and culture growth strategies for the region.

Results – Two communities received funding to implement their big ideas, four additional communities are receiving continued program support. More than $1million in investment funding was raised, and sponsoring organizations decided to expand the program to more communities in the future.


This experience was transformational in the way I look at how funders invest in social change.
— Bill Shugart | Director - One World Adventure | Fort Payne, AL
Overall, it was a great program and a fantastic way to identify, evaluate, and implement our goals.
— Corey Divel | Senior Planner - City of Cleveland, TN
A tremendous process supported by seasoned dreamers and coaches.
— David Aft | President - Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia | Dalton, GA