2014 Co-Chair and Creator

BarnRaise introduces a new two-and-a-half day conference model that networks creative hubs in a city to rally around one social problem. Entering its 3rd consecutive year, the success of this event has led to the inclusion of three new cities hosting BarnRaises of their own, including one hosted by Adaptive Path. The methodology is also being written about in a new book coming out by Christine Miller within a chapter about operationalizing design anthropology.

At the end of our event, they were able to return to their organizations with practical design methods to frame problems and drive organizational growth while keeping the end-user in mind.

This event came about with a team of 5 graduate students who decided to challenge the traditional conference model to make a more engaging and impactful experience. As a co-chair, I helped build our partnering organizations and speakers, rally internal support teams, create messaging and vision, and ensure event success to the best of my ability. Creating this new experience was a great opportunity, and was really fufilling to see all of our hard work come together and frankly, to continue on for future years! We were humbled that our event was so successful that it has inspired participants at BarnRaise to create other similarly-minded events, such as VergeNYC. In addition to the three cities that are raising their own barns this year and next with partners like Adaptive Path, the Institute of Design has also hosted several iterations of the event.

During its inaugural year in 2014, participants focused on urban safety in an open source world. For two-and-a-half days, design firms throughout the city hosted and lead teams to work on problems in this arena that real organizations throughout our city face. Design firms like gravitytank, Greater Good Studio, Moment, Acquity Group, and Conifer joined and partnered with with organizations such as United Way, Friends of the Park, Metropolitan Tenants Organization, University of Chicago, and Gensler. In addition, we were honored to host speakers such as Charles Adler, co-founder of Kickstarter, Komal Kirtikar, head of customer safety for Lyft, and many others to inspire attendees. Participants spent two days building prototypes that were displayed at a public exhibit on Wednesday, October 15 within Motorola Mobility in the Merchandise Mart.