Chicago Ideas Week

I am lucky enough to have a company that supports Chicago Ideas Week and allows us to attend. They have 88 tailored talks and labs that will pique your interest and get your mind thinking. Chicago Ideas Week is a member organization so I encourage all who can to join so we can keep bringing this amazing week of learning to Chicago.

Here are a few of the sessions I was lucky enough to attend.

The Future of Work

This was an extremely informative session that asked the questions about how robotics, Millennials and technology will change the future of the way we work.  Here were a few key takeaways and thoughts.

  • 15 million jobs will be created by robots in the next 8 years and 24.9 million jobs lost. How will we retrain our blue collar workforce to do different jobs?
  • There is a capitalistic incentive to use automation. You should never safely assume your job is safe. There will eventually be a lawyer bot that can find cases way faster than you. As humans, we are resilient we just have to be open to change and knowing the future of our work will be different.
  • Millennial women are not standing for the rights in the workforce that have gone on for too long. #metoo movement
  • We could raise our GDP by 5% if women were hired at the same amount as men in the United States.
  • There have been 1900 Senators and 50 that were women. How does that impact policy?
  • Millennial’s are not making stability based job decisions but learning based. They want to have purpose and meaning vs just a job and getting a paycheck. This will effect how you get people to keep their jobs.
  • Employees are interfacing with technology more than people.  How do you keep your employees engaged via Skype and keep people from losing interpersonal skills.
  • The future of the gig economy is strong (task rabbit, Uber). It enables people to pursue non linear careers. There are however systemic issues with workers rights. It allows people to be entrepreneurs and pursue side career that they are passionate about.  They are however not enough to live off alone.  The average person makes about $500 a month on average in gig economy. With 4 gigs you are still half the poverty line. Airbnb averages $900 and is the most lucrative.
  • Looking for a job is heavily influenced by online dating. Only 3% get jobs on job boards. Within 3 weeks you get pretty depressed. Human way. Pursue the question that’s driving you and friend those companies that are doing that. Hire organically through community. Share that looking for position and find someone that is passionate about what you are doing.
  • Freelance is a constant source of stress but people will continue to do that if they don’t want to be in an office. Technically an entrepreneur and that is the path to success. Healthcare system has been unfair. Trade off between security and autonomy.
  • Elon musk and mark zuckerberg are looking into paying people so they can survive with universal base income.

Collaborative Creativity and the Evolution of an Idea

This session was all about how you have to collaborate with other people to bring creative ideas to life.

  • The Hamilton set designer had the original idea to do turntables for the set when he was auditioning for the job.  They hated the idea but he still got hired.  He ended up bringing the idea back up over 8 months later and they required him to find 10 spots were they can implement and ended up doing 28 different ones.  If you have seen Hamilton the turntables are key to the performance.
  • The Facebook designer talked about how the way people come together to make connections is what makes it so special and that 80% of people use Facebook not in English.  They are collaborating with the actual users.  We don’t have this issue in the United States but a family in India who are tech savvy may be using a phone from 5 years ago are sharing the phone and being able to switch from person to person easily is a challenge they may have so they have to redesign for them.  There is a shortage of blood in India and they have created easy ways to match donors to people needing blood.
  • Second City is teaming up with the University of Chicago data scientist to see how improve improves collaboration.  An example is instead of saying no you should say Thank you, because.  Then nicely explain how their idea helped you and share your idea. A lot of good behavioral science says you set each other up as collaborators the positive and the negative experiences become gifts and treats them like partners.



Chicago’s film industry with Cinespace and Lagunitas

Cinespace studio’s is the home to DePaul film students, Chicago Fire, Med, PD and Empire among many others.  I was lucky enough to tour it. It is a bunch of warehouses filled with entire sets.  They are soundproof so they can do construction while they are filming.  There is a warehouse that was designed specifically for Chicago Fire and includes a basement in it.  Every fire scene is shot in this room as it is built with the proper equipment so they are safe.  The entire block is full of cast, crew and equipment everywhere.  It is a really unique place that Chicago is lucky to be the home of.

Re-Designing the way you design with General Assembly

General Assembly is an experiential education company in the web development, data, design and business fields.  This was a lab which was honestly not my favorite.  We took ideas to make an app, drew all of our ideas out and then made them into a workable app.  I understood the concept that all ideas are good ideas and if something is crazy you can redesign it to see how it can work. You also have to work with your client to see how you can implement their ideas to work best for the end user.

If you get an opportunity to attend Chicago Ideas Week next year I highly recommend it!


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