We were full of ideas around here this past fall, in no small part thanks to October's annual Chicago Ideas Week (CIW). This year we served as the organization's technology partner, helping the nonprofit launch its new website, enhance its online ticketing system, and develop a ticket scanning mobile app.

Now that the dust has settled, we took some time to sit down with the team from CIW to conduct a “retrospective”: a facilitated session in which we discussed what worked well, what could have worked better, and how we can improve future stages of the project. We came away with some key learnings, and happily, everyone felt the week was an overall success:

  • Ticket sales were up: Nearly 5,000 more tickets were sold to CIW events this year, despite fewer ticketed sessions on the calendar.

  • For the first time, CIW sponsors could use the website to issue tickets to their networks, helping to streamline the sponsorship process.

  • The automated platform simplified administrative tasks and saved staff time.

  • Thanks to the mobile app, for the first time, organizers could get real-time attendance counts at events, so they knew how many extra tickets to sell at the door.

We’re already getting excited for Chicago Ideas Week 2014 and have started talking about new improvements for next year. We’ll be expanding the ticketing system to handle additional special events, and we're working on a new user-facing mobile app that will let attendees find events, manage their tickets, and join the conversation using their phones and tablets.

Did you attend CIW this year and have feedback on how things could be better for next year? Please share in the comments!

Below see some shots from this year's Chicago Ideas Week, including our PechaKucha-style event "My Worst Idea Ever." Watch all the talks from that event at our PechaKucha channel, and for more from CIW, check out our "Learn Agile with LEGO" event.


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