August 12, 2013

Exploring Chicago

Over our school’s 2-week August break I took the opportunity to travel and get a feel for some cities and firms that are doing amazing things. I took off to Chicago on August 5th. It was amazing how at home I felt in Chicago, because of a trip like this I’m happy to say the Windy City is one of the front runners for places I’m thinking of moving after graduation.

While in Chicago, I stayed with my WashU sorority & visual communications sister, Amy Guterman. She’s amazing and has become a total mover & shaker in the Chicago community. Amy helped open a bunch of doors for my quick adventure in Chicago, even while she was busy planning and packing for a wild trip to India!

Here’s a quick wrap up of places I visited and things I saw!



As soon as I landed in Chicago I took the L down to 1871 Chicago to catch up on a few projects and e-mails with my friend Aaron Robinson. 1871 is a beautiful (and GIGANTIC) co-working space in the heart of the city. It also has the capacity to function as a startup accelerator and people can take classes there.

Next Door


I’ve been waiting to explore Next Door for a few years now, since the project started to pop up on IDEO’s website. Next door is a project between IDEO and State Farm Insurance, it manifested in an absolutely delicious coffee shop with incredible environmental design and really fun free classes.

I spent a LOT of my time in Chicago at Next Door. I befriended the managers and staff, professed my love for IDEO, and apparently only missed the team that worked on the project by a few minutes. It’s an exciting concept that is perfectly executed and wildly exciting. If you’re in Chicago, be sure to check it out, grab a latte and take a class while you’re at it!



Amy is a communication designer at GravityTank and set up a tour with her coworkers while I was in town. I have seen many co-working facilities and design firms, but never a space quite like GravityTank. They have designed their space to welcome innovation and be inviting to employees and clients, respecting their client’s privacy while being open to exploration and experimentation. It was a honor to explore their bays, prototyping labs and learn about their organizational structure.

Greater Good Studio

Just about a year ago Amy did a fellowship with Firebelly University. During her fellowship, I drop up to Chicago from St. Louis and visited the program. I was lucky enough to overlap a planned lunch with George and Sara Aye – founders of Greater Good Studio. Now, a year later, I reached out and was able to grab lunch with them in Lincoln Park. It was thrilling to chat with George and Sara about the possibility of using creativity and design strategy to create a positive social impact on the world, and the many way to go about brining change to a community.

I was so thrilled to meet up with George and Sara just a day before heading up to Evanston for the Design for America national leadership studio. It was a perfect segue from the world of innovation for business and revenue growth to innovation for social good.