A couple of weeks ago, Design for America was pleased and proud to be a part of Chicago Ideas Week 2011 in more ways than one!

For those who aren’t familiar, Chicago Ideas Week was the brainchild of Brad Keywell, co-founder of Groupon and Lightbank, who spoke to Melissa Harris of the Chicago Tribune about Chicago and its Midwestern humbleness:

Venture capitalist Brad Keywell once told me Chicago needs to be more “noisy.” If that’s the case, Chicago Ideas Week, making its debut Monday, is his big brass band, a way to trumpet big-name speakers and innovative local companies.

The Third Coast has a thriving, vibrant innovation/design/creativity scene, so it is no surprise that Design for America got its start in the Windy City.  Go Chicago!

There were a few stand out moments at Chicago Ideas Week 2011 for DFA:

Monday night, DFA’s Sami Nerenberg took to the stage at Chicago’s Oriental Theater during the Mayoral Megatalk to accept an award on behalf of DFA as a semi-finalist for a Bluhm-Hefland Social Innovation Fellowship. Imagine Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s surprise as she gave him something in return for his handshake…a super cool DFA t-shirt! He promised to wear it for his morning run.

DFA students, mentors and friends showed up in force on Saturday morning at the Chicago Shakespeare theater to represent the DFA community as DFA Faculty Advisor, Jeanne Marie Olson, shared the DFA version of Creative Process.  Audience members were invited to interact with DFA’ers after the talk and share their ideas for local social impact, and a new term was impulsively coined to describe the user-centered approach to gathering insight by putting aside your ego/assumptions to engage the world around you…outsight!






(Conference visual recap from Ink Factory…they are awesome!)

We were so excited that one of the DFA Stanford student leaders was here to hang with us that morning as well…Tania Anassie!  Thanks for coming to town and getting up early on a Saturday to share the DFA love!