Recap: The One Show Creative unConference in Chicago

The 4 principles of the unConference, the DIY session board, and session-in-progress by Big Cartel

You may be wondering: what the heck is the Creative unConference? It’s a conference with a theme, but without any agendas. The day’s sessions are created by the participants. Someone has a session idea, they write it down and post it on the session board. Hosted by The One Club (a New York organization that promotes excellence in advertising), I happened to stumble upon Creative unConference through a twitter mention. I was hooked once I found out my alma mater Columbia College Chicago was hosting.

Thinking like a start-up.

This year’s theme was “Thinking like a start-up.” Being a first-timer, I wasn’t quite ready to lead a session (though I would consider it next year) but I found the sessions to be relaxed and open. It was easy to ask questions or chime in.

A recap of the sessions I attended:

  • Kevin Willer of 1871 gave an overview of how their co-working space helps digital start-ups.
  • Jim Coudal of Coudal Partners spoke about how their business grew and evolved to include products (Field Notes) and a premier ad network (The Deck).
  • Dave Reidy from closer look gave a lunchtime session to a variety of aspiring book-creators about writing your book.
  • Leo Burnett Farmhouse led an interactive idea session that resulted in an audience-created idea.
  • Dan Kristofferson of Big Cartel gave an inspiring session that made me want to follow all of my creative aspirations—and open up a Big Cartel shop!

My former stomping grounds: the Art & Design Department at Columbia College. Some of my professors are still there!

I left the Creative unConference with a notebook full of ideas for my design business, as well as my new “start-up” (my baby goods business).

Reminiscing…and seeing the future

It’s been, ahem, a few years since I attended Columbia College. So after the conference, a fellow CCC alumna and I took the opportunity to tour the Art & Design floors and reminisce about how much had changed. I also browsed ShopColumbia, the fantastic student art store on campus. A great opportunity to see “what the kids are making” and get some cool art. I applaud Columbia for helping these up-and-coming artists get their work out there, even before graduation.

Did you attend the Creative unConference? What did you think?