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20NTC Session Proposal

Staying Sharp: How to Create and Implement Great Ideas


Not all ideas are created equal. Organizations often struggle with creating and implementing better ideas. This session, originally presented at Harvard University’s Digital Innovation Academy, will walk you through how to generate strong everyday and breakthrough ideas, choose and implement the best ones, and shift internal cultures from ad-hoc brainstorming to strategic planning.This hands-on session will include a guided value-mapping activity and lesson in idea pitching.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand what makes one idea better than another and why the best ideas often remain undiscovered.
  • Develop techniques to balance everyday ideas and breakthrough ideas.
  • Learn how to you preserve an original idea through implementation.




Graziella Jackson



Graziella Jackson is CEO of Echo&Co, a design and innovation company that helps purpose-driven organizations improve their relationships with end-users. Echo&Co shares its talent and expertise with clients to co-create inspiring human journeys, the modern platforms to enable them, and the internal capacity to improve them over time.

Graziella has a background in brand strategy, human-centered design and innovation, and information design. She’s worked in the public and social sectors for 15 years as well as in the private sector, leading customer experience strategy for Fortune 500 companies. Her heart is in design innovation for social impact, and she has led experience design programs with AARP, ASPCA, Climate Reality Project, Free Press, Greenpeace, NRDC, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Newseum, The George Washington University, The Wilderness Society, and others. Graziella has a bachelor’s degree in communication with a journalism focus from George Mason University and a master’s degree in communication, culture, and technology from Georgetown University. She is a member of the 2017 class of Leadership Greater Washington and has presented at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, ADWKDC, Web of Change, and Newseum Summer Teaching Institute. Graziella serves on the board of the Center for Digital Resilience, a NGO that connect organizations and digital security experts to build tight-knit, secure civil societies. She also chairs the board of United for Iran, a nonprofit organization that uses digital technology to advance civil liberties in Iran, whose work has been featured at the Oslo Freedom Forum and in WIRED, BuzzFeed, and Fast Company. Graziella has taught English as a second language and literacy in Washington, D.C., and Prince George’s County, Md. In her native D.C., she is an active playwright and a board member of the nonprofit Washington Improv Theater (WIT), which brings creativity and a spirit of play to people around the Greater Washington region.

Marcy Rye

Founder & Principal

Wire Media, LLC

Marcy is the founder of Wire Media, an award winning branding and design firm that helps clients communicate more authentically and effectively with their audiences. She is passionate about bringing both order and delight to complex communications challenges. Wire Media’s expertise in visual storytelling and data design helps our clients create a meaningful, emotional connection with their audience, driving lasting relationships.

In her role at Wire Media, she has led branding and design projects for clients including the Humane Society, Box Inc., CREDO, Environmental Defense Fund, River LA, Women’s World Banking, Stanford University, and numerous Democratic and progressive political campaigns at all levels of government in the US, Africa, and the Caribbean.

Marcy has nearly 20 years of experience working at the intersection of cutting-edge design and
technology to help clients communicate better, create opportunities to engage, and build lasting and meaningful relationships. Her prior work experience includes branding and design for leading organizations including the Smithsonian, the World of Coca-Cola Museum, the Women in Military Service Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, and AARP. She also has a long history of creating print direct mail for Democratic campaigns at all levels of government in the United States.

Marcy is a frequent speaker and author on topics including data design, visual storytelling, web design, and branding. She’s presented at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, Web of Change, California Association of Nonprofits, and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

She serves on the board of the Los Angeles County Firefighters Foundation, which focuses on bringing health and safety information to the public in Los Angeles County, and she chairs the marketing and communications committee. She is Vice President of the board of directors for Charity on Top, a nonprofit that provides gift cards allowing people to use the card to make a donation to their nonprofit of choice.

Marcy holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master of fine arts in design and technology from Parsons the New School for Design, where she double majored in web/user experience design and physical computing. She lives in Marina del Rey, California where she is passionate about sailboat racing, kayaking, and anything on the water, and where she serves on the race committee at her yacht club.

Apollo Gonzales

Digital Grassroots Engagement Director


Apollo Gonzales is a digital engagement and mobilization strategist with a decade of experience working inside, and providing consulting services to, the non-profit social good sector. He is currently the Digital Grassroots Engagement Director for PL+US, and non-profit advocating for corporate and federal paid family leave policy for all working families.

Previously Apollo served as Owner and President of Nimbus Strategies, a digital engagement and mobilization consultancy that focuses on providing digital strategies for issue advocacy campaigns. His work on corporate campaigns on global overfishing, deforestation, and palm oil led to major commitments from companies like Thai Union and Mondelez, and mobilized nearly 2 million supporters to action.

While in DC, Apollo served as Principal for EchoDitto, and Digital Campaign Director for the NRDC and NRDC Action fund. Apollo served on the founding board of directors of Web Of Change, and currently serves as the Chair of the board of directors at Resource Media. He lives in Houston with his wife, 2 sons, and dog Jackson.



E143- E144


March 14, 2019


3:00pm – 4:15pm



CFRE Credits

NFR - 1.25

Collaborative Notes

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Session Evaluation

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