Kris Kurtenbach, Collaborative Communications Group FounderThanks for visiting Collaborative’s blog. You’ll quickly see that we curate our content to provide to you information and tools that can elevate your work.

To start, Rhyla, Jeff, Devin and Ian, four professional communicators on our team with different skills–along with guest bloggers, will guide you through our perspective on the communications world.

Collaborative’s blog will provide tips and tricks for using digital content, branding, media outreach and communications strategies, along with insight into news in the education field. All writing is intended to share what we know in ways that can help your team succeed.

When it comes to supporting the work of education nonprofits, the team at Collaborative knows their stuff, as we focus solely on education and learning. Please reach out to our team if you need a sounding board or suggestions for improving your work.

Many thanks, and we look forward to engaging with you.

Kris, Founding Partner of Collaborative

Animated Video
Helps Communicate Complexity

by Kris Kurtenbach, Founding Partner

Collaborative works with a various public agencies—from local city governments to global organizations, such as the World Bank. We are helping the World Bank think about the information it collects to increase the impact of its work and improve development outcomes around the world.

We have used short, animated videos as effective tools to communicate the core value propositions of complex systems. Through the use of visual metaphors, animated videos can impart big ideas simply, appeal to the emotions of core stakeholders and have lasting power over the life cycle of an initiative or project.

This example, created in partnership with Social Driver, announces the World Bank’s new online procurement processing system, called Systematic Tracking of Exchanges in Procurement, or STEP. As the institutional tool for faster access to information about procurement, STEP transforms data into knowledge: empowering efficiency, creating accountability and enabling citizen engagement through open data in ways that drive results for development.

We’re eager to use animated video as a powerful communications and teaching tool in a variety of additional settings.


Welcome to Collaborative Communications’ Blog

For the past several weeks, as I come out of the A gates at Washington National Airport, I have been struck by an ad I see posted at the top of the stairway to baggage claim. The ad shows a young professional admiring himself in a mirror. The caption says: “Looking for a lawyer who spends more time thinking about you?”

I like the ad, because each time I see it (and lately, I’ve passed through National airport quite a bit on my way to and from various client engagements), the concept resonates with me about what I hope people think about Collaborative Communications Group: That our focus is you, not ourselves.

Collaborative too is a “service” firm. That emphasis on service is key: We exist only to be in service to others. Because of that, Collaborative has been reticent to talk about itself. While recognizing and utilizing new media possibilities in supporting our clients’ goals, we’ve relied for more than 15 years almost solely on word-of-mouth references from those in our network to tell others what value we have added.

Plus, we have zero interest in adding to the white noise. I have personally eschewed engagement in many social media sites for exactly this reason. But beyond having a track record of what people tell us are some pretty significant efforts that truly have helped them move forward—the way we measure our own credibility—we’ve built a team around some awfully thoughtful people.

So whether it’s a way of helping others think about their strategic and communications approach, or understand the context of what’s going on in out-of-school time, teaching and learning, leadership, technology, open data, or the intersection of community-based organizations with schools, the team at Collaborative does indeed have something of value to say.

Precisely because we are working at the intersection of so much information, with so many of you knowledgeable people in so many enriched conversations across the field, we may have some insights that might be of use to share.

Think of this blog, then, as Collaborative practicing a bit of what we preach: Speak clearly—and only if you have something meaningful to say. So over the coming months, as we continue to pass along terrific examples of communications efforts you are producing that are of benefit to the field, we will share some ideas and reflections of our own that we think might help too. As always, our purpose in doing so is to be of use. And the way we’ll judge our value here will continue to come from your feedback. So please let us know what works for you, and what more we might do to help you advance your own mission.