“Measuring Creativity: Defining Social Impact in Storytelling” at Centre for Social Innovation

JUNE 4, 2015

AV Lab’s director Ellen Schneider recently moderated a discussion with Dan Cogan, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Impact Partners, Paula Froehle, ED and Co-founder of Chicago Media Project, and Kristi Jacobson, founder of Catalyst Films, in a discussion about measuring media impact at the Centre for Social Innovation. See event description, below:

As story-based media become increasing ubiquitous (some would say essential) in the field of social innovation, many are hoping to measure its effectiveness and “impact.” When it comes to creativity, what can, and what should be measured? What questions are emerging, and what methods are appropriate? What’s the impact of evaluation on the creative community itself? And how are individual donors, in particular, making sense of these options? Join a group of innovative leaders in a lively, intimate and interactive session about the exciting – or is it explosive? – role of social change media metrics.


Dan Cogan is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Impact Partners, a fund and advisory service for investors and philanthropists who seek to promote social change through film. Since 2007, Impact Partners has been involved in the funding of over 60 critically acclaimed and socially impactful films.

Paula Froehle is ED and Co-founder with Steve Cohen of Chicago Media Project. She is a director, producer and entrepreneur who believes in the power of media to move individuals- donors large and small- toward social impact commitment. CMP explores ways to bridge the gap between emotional response and active engagement for new donors, ultimately developing a strong community of engaged supporters of impact media.

Kristi Jacobson is founder of Catalyst Films, and director/producer of prominent documentaries that have aired on HBO, PBS, Channel Four/UK, ESPN, ABC, A&E and Lifetime. Her award winning film A Place at the Table engaged investors, Participant Media, funders, NGOs, etc.; and thus Kristi has experienced – and survived! – myriad benchmarks for determining “impact.”
Lisa Yancey, an organizational development consultant, thinks that when it comes to assessing creative works and entities, we have to redefine the measurement framework. She advises against adopting existing metrics that don’t yield meaningful analysis. Working closely with philanthropy managers, artists, and social justice practitioners has given her a lot of food for thought. 

Ellen Schneider (moderator) directs Active Voice Lab, which builds tools — such as ThePrenups.org and HowDoWeKnow.net — that help people use stories, art, and culture to advance measurable social change. She consults on strategies for media-savvy pioneers like Atlantic Philanthropies, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Participant Media. Before founding Active Voice she was executive producer of the PBS series, POV.