Just over a week ago, our city saw its 4th annual Chicago Ideas Week. From the inspiration of Brad Keywell and to a slightly lesser degree Eric Lefkofsky, founder of Groupon, this magical week brings to world-renowned speakers and hands-on labs and experiences to our city for a curiosity-packed week once a year. Each is designed to inspire the imagination while also provoking and challenging conventional thinking.
At FLIRT, we pride ourselves on being a forward-thinking agency, so we encouraged the entire staff to attend several CIW events to help us to explore our curiosities and expand our thinking. The goal? Apply our stimulated imagination to our clients’ events and internal communications planning. After all, aren’t inspired ideas, beyond great strategy and flawless production, the hallmark of any great communications agency?
Each of us in the agency took a different path when selecting the speakers we wanted to hear and the labs we wanted to attend. Occasionally it was based on the responsibilities we have in our agency. But after that our decisions were strictly personal and driven by our individual passion, desire for enrichment and pure curiosity.
What I discovered is that everyone gets something different out of each Chicago Ideas Week experience. Some colleagues found value in listening to top world leaders discussing how the headlines skew the reality of politics and wars. Others spent time honing their social media and digital skills in workshops. Still others were stimulated by listening to young entrepreneurs from around the world talking about their start-up ventures and how they were inspired to take the initiative necessary to bring their ideas to reality.
Collectively, I would venture to say that our team attended several dozen talks and labs. Some were more powerful than others. Some were more rudimentary than perhaps they should have been for as lofty an event as Chicago Ideas Week aspires to be. But at roughly $15 per session, it is still one of the best values in town dollar for dollar every year.
There is no doubt that CIW will continue to mature and grow, both in terms of the quality of its speakers and the event’s ability to be a stage for showcasing significant ideas that can change the world. It is a gift to the city that will keep on giving, bringing in thousands of smart, curious participants from across the globe to speak and attend. For FLIRT, it will continue to be a great source of intellectual and creative fuel for our team and for our clients that will expand our ability to bring advanced inspiration to them and our events. If you didn’t get to attend this year, we definitely recommend joining this community of curiosity next year.