9 Ah-Ha Moments of Chicago Ideas Week

Ideas are great. But they are just concepts floating in someone’s head or words on a page unless they are transformed into action.

This week, the world’s most innovative thinkers, doers, and transformers in technology, education, art, sports, and politics have gathered together for Chicago Ideas Week. Hundreds of talks, intimate labs, and two TEDx conferences are giving us a jolt of inspiration to “go do”.

Through a combination of attending sessions, volunteering, and following the Twitter hashtag #CIW11, I’ve collected a list of the most memorable Chicago Ideas Week nuggets so far:

  • What every employer is looking for is not someone who can do the job, but someone who can reinvent the job. – Thomas Friedman, NY Times Columnist
  • Entrepreneurs start economies.
  • Pandora founder, Tim Westergren pitched 348 times to get to his venture capital funding.
  • Advice to anyone graduating and looking for a job? 1) social 2) mobile 3) digital. – Julie Novack, Vibes SVP
  • There isn’t a Democratic or Republican way to pick up garbage. – Mayor Rahm Emanuel
  • More people in the world have access to cell phones, than safe drinking water and toilets.
  •  Worldwide, 7.6 million children die each year and malaria is responsible for 90% of those deaths.
  • The measure of a religion should be how much you love your neighbor, the one least like you.

Heavy stuff. Really makes you pause for a moment. But don’t pause for too long because these are the words that sum up Chicago Ideas Week best:

“I’m sure the best time to act on your idea was a while ago, but the second best time happens to be now.” – Brad Keywell, Groupon Co-Founder