The destined leaders are the ones who create their own pathways when they are stuck on something. One such passionate leader is Monica Kang, who was once stuck onto something she thought was her dream career, only to find out later that creativity was calling her for something bigger and better. Her calling to help create the world where people would never get stuck at work like she did, led her to the formation of InnovatorsBox. A social entrepreneur on the mission, Monica is empowering the workplaces with innovation and creativity.
It all started when she was puzzled at her nuclear nonproliferation job that she had loved so much. She was tired of her colleagues telling her that being stuck and stressed at work is normal. But, maybe being normal was not something she was destined to. Her prior journey had taught her that building a creative mindset is unlocking your full potential and moving from burnout to empowerment. But the absence of platform which could show her how it can be done only left her more puzzled. Left with no other choice but to take the matter in her own hand, Monica started InnovatorsBox. Through the experiential workshops, community events and tools they provide, she is happy to say that 90% of their 1,000 participants who took part in their 56 events in 8 cities shared how those programs and products changed their lives and gave renewed confidence.
A Creative and Innovative Educator Leading from the Front
The CEO of InnovatorsBox, Monica is a creative educator and a passionate community builder at her heart. Since its inception, she has led InnovatorsBox to be recognized as the only creative education firm that is teaching creativity in a tangible, practical and relatable way for professionals to understand.
In 15 months, she has hosted over 56 events for 1,000 leaders in eight U.S. cities in which 90% participants share how this changed the way they think about creativity and innovation. Prior to her business, she was a nuclear nonproliferation expert and worked in public policy for 9+ years in three continents. By being an Organizer and Facilitator at Startup Weekend, and President of DMV Startup, she continues to play an active role in global entrepreneurship. She completed her M.A. in Strategic Studies and Economics at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University, and her B.A. from Boston University.
Being true to her Goal Since the Beginning
Since venturing on her own, her goal to create the world where everyone would believe that they are creative and learn how to build their creative mindset has not changed for a bit. She has always focused on creating the world where all individuals can maximize their talent, curiosity and creativity regardless of their job title or industry and away from today’s state where 87% of the workforce feel stuck with a lack of an outlet for creativity. To make it happen, she along with her team takes a systematic approach. They do community events to raise awareness, educate the public and make their programs accessible to all. They also do corporate trainings to empower leader and organizations that can create a ripple effect within their industries to bring positive change within their spaces.
Creativity is Contagious and InnovatorsBox is spreading the Joy
The key values that helped Monica along the way have been the practice of humility, honesty, curiosity and sharing these values consistently. Earlier, she knew that she is not aware of everything. She had no prior business education, nor knew a lot of entrepreneurs prior to her venture. She had worked in international affairs before, thus most of her friends had seen startup as a foreign concept and did not really understand how much work happened behind the scene. To change this, she started sharing her honest challenges and thoughts more among friends and for that writing helped her a lot. Social media helped Monica clear her thoughts and also gave her the opportunity to explain something to a larger audience immediately. As a result, she not only created a space for her to reflect and share her challenges, but also created allies and gained wisdom.
InnovatorsBox has been featured in The White House’s National week of making, selected as one of the top two DC small businesses by American Small Business Championship, was 1st Runner Up in Tech-in-motion 2016 and selected in Emerging Young Entrepreneurs by NMSDC and Fulbright. Also, Monica was selected as one of the top 7 finalists as the only female presenter at the USPAACC for emerging young entrepreneur doing business with Fortune 500 companies.
Empowering the World with Creativity
To empower all with creativity, InnovatorsBox provides services and games to B2C and B2B in various industries such as technology, consulting, government, nonprofit, finance, healthcare, and supply chain. Through their experiential & team-focused programs, specialized workshops, coaching, consulting, curriculum development and games, they teach how to build a creative mindset and creative confidence.
A card game called SPARK developed by the company is a deck of question cards to spur creativity and a powerful tool with a reminder that – all you need at times is one open-ended question and a curiosity to start practicing creative thinking. Their workshops in creative thinking, rethinking networking, and mindset development are renowned programs in the industry.
Unlike other programs that are done by artists, psychologist or researchers that are heavily theoretical or process based, InnovatorsBox focuses on practical tools and honors how everyone is different. For instance, Mindful Play is a creative workshop that is a mix of reflection, discussion, interactive exercises, and problem solving. Creative Jump is also a creative leadership program for the public.
Knowing Yourself is the Child Step
Learning and improving with the wave, Monica advises the young entrepreneurs to get to know yourself better. Because knowing yourself according to her is the first step before entering the battlefield. It follows by building allies everywhere and knowing that you are not going to go alone. She also advises to be ready to learn, ask, observe all the time, and to be kind and giving. Finally, she asks entrepreneurs to take the time to reflect and unplug.
By 2019, she envisions InnovatorsBox to have built a strong national presence for being on the front end of rethinking innovation in the workforce and starting to make moves internationally. They would have had three new products – one book, growing community chapters, and a strong team making waves in corporate America. She also envisions to have started influencing America’s education thoughts on creativity by working with thought leaders and programs starting in greater DC. And she sees herself creating that change by continuing what she is doing today, which is doing 100% in this vision and with the added joy of knowing how much the world would be a better place when more people embrace creative thinking.