1776 Innovation that Matters 2017 Report

1776 is a global start-up incubator that provides seed-funding, mentorship, and community support for companies innovating within highly-regulated industries. In its third year, the Innovation that Matters report brings 1776 and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce together to rank U.S. cities based on the health of their startup communities and readiness for the transition to the “next-wave” digital economy.

MarCom Strategy and Outreach





While the decline of entrepreneurship in the United States has been a prominent narrative over the past 20 years, the market has begun a corrective course: next-wave industries — those focused on health, energy, education, and smart cities — have emerged as a ripe opportunity for America’s startup economy. Moving beyond retail, media, and entertainment, these next-wave startups are transforming sectors that touch virtually every facet of our lives.

Given the immense growth potential of the next-wave economy, cities around the country are anxious to gain insight into how they can best position their communities to turn capital into successful next-wave tech industries.

1776 and the Chamber of Commerce are uniquely positioned to analyze the next-wave startup market and offer recommendations for how cities can unlock the potential of this vibrant sector.

From a digital storytelling perspective, the challenge was two-fold: analyzing the report’s underlying data to identify core insights, and packaging those insights using innovative technology and design to best deliver the information to key audiences and stakeholders.

2017 Report Document


Absorbing The Data

We began with a review of the report’s data — as well as findings from the two previous Innovation That Matters studies — to pull out key themes and year-to-year comparison analysis that supported the report’s overarching narrative. Our research process also included an assessment of relevant media coverage to ensure the final framing would resonate with target outlets and journalists.

For the report’s design, we chose to synthesize the well-established brands of the Chamber and 1776 to create a cutting-edge Americana aesthetic that remained consistent with what audiences have come to expect from the Innovation that Matters series. For the city-specific graphics, LGND moved beyond the traditional skyline view, typical of city-centric design, working to develop recognizable but differentiated images that represent the distinct pulse of each city.

All 25 cities were given a unique scorecard which featured year-to-year changes in rankings, quotes from entrepreneurs, and highlights about individual metrics. Top cities also received specialized graphics and narratives.


LGND also developed and executed a custom, product-based communications and marketing campaign designed to highlight the report’s findings and ensure key stakeholders had the tools and insights needed to support the growth of next-wave startups.

The multi-week campaign included an ongoing earned media push across 25 markets, as well as social media content built around visuals from the digital story. See the report featured in Axios, San Diego Union-Tribune, and Boston Magazine.

See it in action

"In short, LGND made our lives easier and delivered. In addition to evolving the branding of Innovation That Matters, LGND was flexible and fast to create great products. From design to media strategy, they were true partners."

— Morgan Gress, Managing Director of Global Marketing, 1776