Chicago Ideas Week: Not All Talks Will Be Inspiring

Chicago Ideas Week Photo: Amanda Elliott

Know where to go and when to go. As in all things, and at all conferences, you can’t go to every event and meet everyone—and more importantly, you don’t want to!

Chicago Ideas Week is a really good concept. It brings new thinking, it brings classes, it brings innovators and leaders and creates a buzz for education and taking action to create change. It empowers its audience. I am happy that we have Ideas Week.

There are some moments that you want to see.

But not everything is going to be amazing. There are fluff and filler classes, just like in college.

Chicago Ideas Week had A LOT of publicity. They had an ad in New York’s Time Square. Architects built the Air Pavilion sculpture for Pioneer Court. Martha Stewart came. Chicago skyscrapers are lit up with the inscription “Ideas Week”.

I looked at newsfeeds on Instagram and Twitter, and I thought, this is pretty cool.

New Ideas (And Old Ones):


A post shared by KIM BLOOMBERG (@kimbloombergdesigns) on

Behind the Scenes at Chicago Offices:

Hands on Learning:


BEHIND THE HEADLINES: ISIS, Al Qaeda and other splinter groups have increasing access to both weaponry and channels of communication, creating a global threat that is omnipresent, urgent—and often unknown. Experts and journalists will provide an on-the-ground look at the groups behind extremist acts and the threats currently facing our nation before addressing the questions most on everyone’s minds. 💡💡💡💡💡💡💡💡💡💡💡💡 We’re #GraphicRecording live at @ChicagoIdeas Week. Follow @inkfactorystudio for the final #CIWvisualized 💡💡💡💡💡💡💡💡💡💡💡💡 #ThinkLikeInk #InkFactoryStudio #YouTalkWeDrawItsAwesome #VisualLanguage #SketchNotes #Drawing #Illustration #CIW #Follow

A post shared by Ink Factory (@inkfactorystudio) on

Tips for Planning Chicago Ideas Week:

While there were a lot of great moments, my experiences with Chicago Idea’s Week wasn’t everything I hoped it would be and more. I wasn’t impressed. I spoke with other attendees at my classes. We agreed that it is a cool concept, but as Drake says, we were doing it wrong.

Here’s some tips to make the most of Chicago Ideas Week:

  1. Plan ahead. A lot of the good sessions are booked in advance. When I went to a Thursday night session, attendees said they wanted to go to Chicago Ideas Week, but they learned about it this week, and just found open events.
  2. Know who to see. Do you see all those names? Martha StewartBarbara Starr, and Michael Strahan are only going to be present at specific talks. If you know who you want to see, make sure you are going to their talk.
  3. Go during the day. Yes, there are events, but I found that people took work off or took longer lunch breaks to attend the events during the day, rather than coming after work.
  4. Become a member now. There is a discount for becoming a member now, which gives you discounts to Chicago events throughout the year at at next year’s Chicago Ideas Week.It will be cheaper, you are helping the organization, and you will be able to experience more.
Share This