Chicago Shines as Creative Industry Innovation Hub

To highlight Chicago as an innovation hub for creative industries, World Business Chicago recently participated in this year’s Lake FX Summit + Expo, the Midwest’s largest free convening of creative entrepreneurs.Visual Cage

WBC Creative Director Jake Trussell moderated three discussions, starting Friday, May 13th, with “Makers + Markets: Different by Design.” The informational workshop focused on new trends in product development and retailing to explore their impact on creative designers and producers. Speakers included: Craighton Berman, founder of Manual; Maya Camille-Broussard, founder of Justice of the Pies; Brea Malloy and Steve Batterson, directors of brand strategy at Simple Truth; and Anijo Mathew, professor at IIT Institute of Design and CEO of Vamonde.

Saturday’s first event, “Finding our Space in Time”, featured Kickstarter co-founder Charles Adler with his thoughts on the future of creativity and design. Adler previewed his new venture launching this summer, Lost Arts – a Chicago-based project he hopes will bring design “back down to the physical world.” Adler describes Lost Arts as “a blend of laboratory, woodshop, incubator, and playground…a space enabling the intersection of disciplines – instigating economic development and supporting creative exploration.”

WBC capped off its Lake FX series with “Makers + Markets: Making it Personal”, a conversation about launching new products and ideas by focusing on storytelling and audience experience. Panelists included: Kate Drane, Senior Director of Tech Outreach at Indiegogo; Max Temkin, co-creator of Cards Against Humanity; and Raaja Nemani, CEO of Bucketfeet.

According to the Otis Report on the Creative Economy, Chicago is home to the third largest number of creative workers of any metropolitan area in the country, , with 133,800 people employed within the sector. With innovation spaces including 1871, Catalyze Chicago in the West Loop, 2112 at the Fort Knox music complex in Portage Park, and Stage 18 at Cinespace Film Studios in North Lawndale, Chicago is becoming a prime location for creatives to test their entrepreneurial passions and ideas, negating the need for businesses and talent to move to the coasts.

WBC works closely with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) to advance Chicago’s creative economy. By partnering on initiatives such as Lake FX and ChicagoMade, WBC increases awareness of Chicago as a destination for business, talent and tourism.

Photos by Yolanda Richards