Chicago Ideas Week balloons

Chicago Ideas Week balloons

Intellectual Curiosity is a term used to describe your desire to invest time and energy into learning more about something. I believe that this concept is one of the keys to success leveraged by many leaders, creatives and entrepreneurs.

When you are willing to invest time and energy into something, learning and gathering new experiences becomes a natural part of the discovery process. And with this new discovery comes a new level of knowledge and brain power that can be applied across many aspects of your life – work, school, hobbies – you name it.

Earlier this month, the HBG team embarked on a journey to experience Chicago Ideas Week with the goal of learning, discovering and focusing our collective intellectual curiosity. We attended a variety of talks and labs during the week long event, which is focused on “the sharing of ideas, inspiring action, and igniting change to positively impact our world.”

Technology, Change is the Constant 

On day one of Chicago Ideas Week, I attended a talk featuring several speakers, including Logan LaHive, CEO of Belly, Katie Linendoll, and Walt Mossberg, a technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

My main takeaways were:

  • Technology levels the playing field for small and midsized businesses.
  • Technology is enhancing the retail environment, making for a shorter feedback loop and democratizing decision-making.
  • Technology enables consumer experiences to become personalized once more, including retail and healthcare.
  • Focus on what works – sometimes simplicity is the most revolutionary idea.
  • People require emotion to make decisions.

And a great quote from Walt Mossberg:

“When the Internet is totally integrated into our lives, we won’t talk about it like we do now. We don’t talk about using the electric grid, but we do still talk about using the Internet.”
Storyboarding at gravitytank

Storyboarding at gravitytank

gravitytank: Never Stop Making Things 

At gravitytank, I learned about creating storyboards. gravitytank is an innovation consultancy that collaborates with a wide range of clients for business growth, new product development, and organizational improvement.

Storyboarding can be used to understand consumer experiences and pain points, which can be turned into opportunities for innovation and design.

Farmhouse: Reimagine, Redesign and Remarket an Everyday Object 

At Farmhouse (the innovation and new venture center of Leo Burnett), I teamed up with about 10 random strangers to reimagine, redesign and remarket an everyday object. In our case: the wallet.

We experienced a 3-step process – product, strategy and story – with the goal of developing a new product, solving a consumer problem, and creating a targeted story to bring our new product to market.

I’ll write more about The Joey in a follow-up post.

Leo Burnett: Problem Solving for Humans

We attended another event hosted by Leo Burnett, focused on solving human problems.

“Creativity has the power to transform human behavior.”

Leo Burnett focuses on people and human behaviors to tell brand stories. Through solving a people problem – in our case, how to get people to stop biting their nails – we discovered Leo Burnett’s process: Problem, People, Behavior, and Solution.

By focusing on human needs and behaviors throughout the process, each team created a story that resonated with a different target audience. We learned that the best brands solve people problems and, in doing so, they create emotional connections with consumers. 

Doejo "menu" & Bow Truss iced coffee

Doejo "menu" & Bow Truss iced coffee

Doejo: Walk the Block Tour

The last event I attended was hosted by Doejo, a locally based digital agency. Doejo does a lot of work in the East Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, which happens to be my neighborhood, so I was excited to join the walking tour to learn more about the businesses I see every day.

We visited several Lakeview businesses throughout the tour, as well as the Doejo office: Bow Truss, Bahn Mi & Company, Soupbox, Lakeview Athletic Club, Falafil, and the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.

Several things stood out during our walking tour:

Doejo isn’t pigeonholed. They dabble in a bit of everything, from digital experience to in-store concepts, from app development to small business development.

Doejo has a passion for all things local. They help local businesses – small and large – create consistent experiences, online and in person. This gives them great advantage because they live and breathe their clients’ target audiences.

Doejo is fun, playful, and has a sense of humor. It comes through in their office and in their work. Hearing about their projects made me excited about the businesses in my neighborhood. Just stop by the Lakeview East to check them out!

Sharing, Inspiring & Igniting Intellectual Curiosity

Stay tuned to hear more about The Joey, one of the new ideas conceptualized at Farmhouse.

This post was originally published on HBG's Brand Innovation for Health blog.