Ideas Week

October 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )


Chicago hosted its 4th Annual Ideas Week last week and I was kinda, sorta involved. Chicago Ideas Week is a bit hard to describe but it’s basically a series of week-long events where hundreds of people are brought together to connect and inspire each over a huge variety of topics. There were lectures and talks about everything from politics to beer-making and there was literally something for everyone. The talks were at all times of the day and night and held all over the city and since our firm donated to the event, we were given an allotment of tickets to dole out. One of my bosses was in charge of that so I was in turn in charge of the ticket allocation. The process was a bit of a pain in the ass at first but I got the hang of it and was rewarded with a few tickets myself!

A bright idea!

Last Monday, I went to a talk about Explorers from around the world and got to listen to a pilot named Amelia Earhart (no relation to the original, though she did inspire this woman to fly around the planet), a guy who has walked the entire length of the Nile, an ecologist who goes cave-diving, a journalist who has covered some of the most dangerous places in the world and last but certainly not least, Captain James Lovell (the astronaut who Tom Hanks portrayed in Apollo 13). Yeah, the talks were awesome. I found Amelia Earhart to be a little obnoxious (she used to be a weather girl for some local station and so she had that bubbly, plasticy type of personality that makes you want to mess up her perfectly coiffed hair and smear her immaculate make-up…or maybe that was just me) but the others were all extremely fascinating. James Lovell was just plain awe-inspiring and listening to him talk about how Apollo 13 was “probably his most difficult mission” really put into perspective any problems we face down here on earth. The whole event was inspiring and left me wanting to go out and traipse around the world but alas, I had to go to work the next day. I learned a lot though and it was a very interesting way to spend a Monday night.

The next talk I went to was on Saturday evening and Scott got to join me for that one. It was all about the power of creativity and how people take such different paths in order to make the most of their own creativity. We heard from a pair of Chicago entrepreneurs who started a business that sells shoes with the graffiti artwork of artists from all around the world, along with an architect with his own T.V. show, a ventriloquist named Terry Fator who won America’s Got Talent, a chef scientist, the jazz musician T.S. Monk and actress Joan Cusack. It was quite an eclectic group of talent and they all basically talked about their own individual paths of creativity which led them to the success they enjoy today. Joan was the last speaker of the night and she’s a bizarre, funny and original personality who gave us a lot of laughs. Apparently she also owns a store here in the city that sells greeting cards and has featured things from very expensive artwork, a giant beach ball, small toy cars and a live pig. Like I said, bizarre and eclectic.

All of the talks were entertaining though and it was cool to see how it all came together. Who knows – maybe one day I’ll be leading a talk like this myself! Though I may need to acquire a pig first.

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