7 New Ideas from Chicago Ideas’ Opening Day


Deeply Rooted Dance performs during the State of Our Union

Opening Day of Chicago Ideas Week 2017 was full stirring performances, passionate speakers and unexpected moments. But perhaps the best thing about Chicago Ideas Week are the new ideas shared. Here are some of favorite new ideas from Opening Day.

Panelists at The Future of Work

1. Creative workers have more job security. The speakers at our Future of Work Conversation were divided on whether or not technology will lead to more or fewer jobs, but David Brancaccio of “Marketplace Morning Report” had this to say: “Ask yourself what part of your job is repetitive, and that’s what at risk of automation…. Creative jobs are safer because you’re trying to break patterns with creativity.”

Zac Posen talks with Debbie Millman at Collaborative Creativity.

2. Not getting a part in the school musical might be a good thing. At our Collaborative Creativity Talk, both Zac Posen and David Korins revealed they lost parts that they tried out for in their high school musicals. Korins’ rejection even led to his award-winning career as a set designer: his teacher took pity on him and encouraged him to become part of the stage crew.

Journalists gather for our Crisis in the Fourth Estate Conversarion.

3. Clickbait could be killing journalism. Does the media need to get better at writing and producing content in the way that people want to consume it? The journalists at our Crisis in the 4th Estate Conversation think so. In the meantime, Axios Editor Nick Johnston urged, “Don’t click on clickbait.”

Jessmyn Stanley shows students a yoga pose.

4. Yoga can help you deal with complex emotions. At our You(th) Speaker Connect, author & yoga instructor Jessamyn Stanley told high school students: “[Yoga] is my medication and therapy rolled into one. It helps me navigate emotions I wasn’t able to before.”

Blue Men (without makeup!) show off their skills.

5. All of us have our inner Blue Man. At our Lab Behind the Scenes with the Blue Man Group, participants saw the Blue Men without their makeup and learned that to embrace your inner Blue Man, you have to accept and be proud of the characteristics that set you apart.

Dapper Dan discusses streetwear’s influence on high fashion.

6. The rules of fashion. At our fashion Talk, Dapper Dan brought down the house as he, Joe Freshgoods and Jason Mayden talked about the intersection of street style and high fashion. “There’s no right or wrong in fashion, there’s only weak or strong,” Dapper Dan told host Rajni Jacques, fashion editor of Teen Vogue.

Soul Children of Chicago closed out the State of Our Union with a performance of “Higher Love.”

7. Individuals can make a difference. At our “State of Our Union” Talk, speakers explained how individuals can take action to change the world. Liz Dozier, Bridget Gainer and Anna Valencia shared powerful stories about how taking bold steps, creating environments of inclusivity and finding mentors inspired them to dedicate their lives to making life better for others.


Jennifer Boudinot is a freelance writer and entrepreneur focused on the changing workplace, disruptive business practices and cocktails—yes, cocktails. She's also a book editor and a best-selling ghostwriter.

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