What's in this article?

CIW on Tech
CIW on Advertising
CIW on Inspiration

At 30,000 attendees, this year’s Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) is definitely one of the largest ideas festivals in the world. The October conference featured more than 150 events on everything from advertising to tech, startups, innovation, comedy, policing, refugees, and more. As a Chicago digital agency, we were interested in what presenters had to say about startups and the digital sector. Here are our favorite moments and takeaways on tech, the ad world, and general inspiration advice for the businesses and creatives out there as told through Twitter.

CIW on Tech

“Every advancement in technology is both an opportunity for the bad guys and for the good guys.” – Michael Morrell #ChicagoIdeas

There’s two sides to everything, even tech, explained former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell at a panel on the future of national security. A good thing to keep in mind as we use new tech to serve our clients.

Another panel asked, “as artificial intelligence continues to become more of a reality, what’s at stake for humanity?”

Adam Waytz, a professor at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, broke it down for us:

“Take a moment to think of the end-user with AI. Do they even want these things?” – Adam Waytz, professor @KelloggSchool #ChicagoIdeas

Ayanna Howard, a professor at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, spoke about the machines and us, saying:

“We are more trusting of robots that are subject to error & make human mistakes”-Ayanna Howard, computer engineering professor #ChicagoIdeas


“As a society, we have to realize robots are coming and it’s going to take a lot of public education.” – Ayanna Howard #ChicagoIdeas

Artist and roboticist Alexander Reben brought things full circle:

“Technology is human. From the 1st stone tool we made to where we are now, it has shaped who we are & our society.”-@artboffin #ChicagoIdeas

CIW on Advertising

The next panel that caught our eye was Advertising in Action. Britt Nolan, US Chief Creative Officer at Leo Burnett, on breaking through the noise:

Nolan sees “acts not ads” as brands way to fight through the clutter. Examples? REI #OptOutside and #LikeAGirl campaigns #ChicagoIdeas

Nolan also had advice on relevance versus awareness.

“Advertising is not measured on awareness anymore, it’s now measured on relevance.” Via @LeoBurnett #chicagoideas

Panelist Krishna Subramanian, co-founder of Cativ8 and Team in Residence, illuminated on how to get more from your influencers.

How can brands ensure authenticity when using an influencer? “Have influencer involved in creative thinking process.” -@ksub15 #ChicagoIdeas

Furthermore, don’t forget your influencers are supposed to be creative experts.

In partnerships, influencers should be involved not just for distribution + reach but also for their creativity. #advertising #ChicagoIdeas

Panelist Khaleed Juma, creative director for Mosaic, talked about advertising ambition and he didn’t hold back:

“The words ‘good enough’ are f*cked up” – @Khaleed_Juma Creative Director at Mosaic #ChicagoIdeas

Juma was speaking about a formative experience:

Khaleed Juma talks about his experience as part of Bud Light Whatever USA and how “good enough is the death of ambition.” #ChicagoIdeas

In the end, a lot of the success comes down to teamwork:

Creative Director: “you can’t have a team unless they’re excited to be a part of that team” – @Khaleed_Juma #ChicagoIdeas

One of the coolest parts of CIW was Ink Factory Studio’s on the fly infographics of CIW event discussions. They looked like this:

Here’s the final #Advertising in Action #GraphicRecording from today’s #CIW talk! #VisualNotes #CIWVisualized #Conference #Drawing

Another advertising-focused event, the Future of Storytelling, looked at how storytellers are pushing boundaries like never before.

Gabriel Lifton-Zoline, chief operating officer for RYOT:

“The world is calling on us to tell stories that we don’t just invent.” — @GabeLZ, chief operating officer, RYOT. #ChicagoIdeas

Eli Horowitz, a digital publishing specialist and author, emphasized that medium matters:

A digital story and a print story should be different, because of the various capabilities the forms can do. #ChicagoIdeas

Horowitz really takes this idea outside the box in a refreshing way:

On digital stories: “I make a literal list of what a phone can do, and I tried to base a form around that.” — Eli Horowitz at #ChicagoIdeas

Don Hahn is a filmmaker, but we found his advice particularly compelling for the ad world:

“No conflict. No growth. No story.” — @DonHahn #ChicagoIdeas


“Keep it simple. Just tell me: what does he want, and why can’t he have it?” Storytelling with @DonHahn. #ChicagoIdeas  

CIW on Inspiration

This being a meeting of some of the best minds in every discipline, we found great inspiration everywhere we turned.

“The false best is the enemy of the available better.” @DaveEvansDYL spittin’ truth right now at #ChicagoIdeas week. Thank you! #CIW

Best-selling author and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Graham Moore inspired us at the Unlocking Genius talk with this thought:

“What does it mean to be a writer? Someone who creates ideas for a living.” @MrGrahamMoore at tonight’s “Unlocking Genius” #ChicagoIdeas

and this one, too:

“Craftsman, salesman and the idea man. Everyone who does something genius has a little of each element” – @MrGrahamMoore #ChicagoIdeas

We should all get out of our comfort zone more often, said the Creativity at Work panel.

Main takeaway from Creativity at Work. Do what makes you uncomfortable @chicagoideas #CIW

Panelist Charles Duhigg, a reporter for the New York Times and author of Smarter, Faster, Better, touched on mindset:

“You need to be able to change your behavior to be able to change your mind.” — @cduhigg on-the-fly  problem-solving #ChicagoIdeas

Sam Zell, founder and chairman of Equity Group Investments and Equity International, spoke at the entrepreneurship panel:

Risk is all about defining the downside. If we accurately assess the downside & we’re right, that’s a successful investment-Sam Zell #ciw

He added:

#CIW Sam Zell: “For #success, know your limits, test them. Spent my life making sure I never reached my #goals. Distill ideas to simplicity.

Later, things got deep for Dan Evans, co-founder of Electronic Arts:

If you knew money would be okay and people wouldn’t laugh, @DaveEvansDYL asks, what would you do? #ChicagoIdeas

and even reached a turning point with Bethenny Frankel, founder and CEO of Skinnygirl:

“You’re an entrepreneur if it’s never enough. It’s always more…It’s growing the seed.” – @Bethenny #ChicagoIdeas

Looking to hire your very own team of thinkers, creatives, and advertising pros? We can help! Call us at 313-338-9515 or email hello@kaleidico.com to learn how.

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