All of us are inundated by media accounts ​of ​how the rise of tech and manufacturing innovation, social innovation, the growth of the maker movement​,​ and other forces are changing our world. However, we seldom get to meet the people and experience the places at the center of change.

The Strategy World Tour provides a behind-the-scenes look at the work of leaders in highly innovative​ organizations​ both​ large and small. Twenty individuals are invited to join ​three​-day tours. During each tour​,​ participants will have several intimate discussions about strategy with the CEOs who are driving design and innovation at public companies and with ​the ​founders of start-ups and social service organizations creating the next wave of innovation. The IIT Institute of Design Strategy World Tour will take participants to transforming cites to experience innovation where it is most critical. All of this will culminate in a Chicago experience that encompasses what we discovered in the preceding cities.

How did the Strategy Conference evolve into the Strategy World Tour?

After over a decade of conferences, we observed a lack of enthusiasm that we dubbed “conference fatigue”. Industry tunnel vision, disconnection from consumer desire and a misunderstood value proposition have been rampant in conference culture…aren’t these all sounding a bit like the traps that stagnating industries suffer from? Shouldn’t we expect more from designers?

It occurred to us that the Strategy Conference needed to act more like a good friend’s dinner party, less like a week with the in-laws. Patrick Whitney, ID’s former dean, has always felt that the most valuable part of our Strategy Conference was the coffee breaks when people had an opportunity to discuss what they’d heard. Why not amplify experiential elements to create meaning that makes the content richer and more lasting than what can come from only listening? In a sense, this would be taking what had been incidental and making it central.

Thus, our Strategy Conference graduated to the Strategy World Tour where you can apply to get backstage passes to technology, culture, and economies in transition. This is conceived as an experience that takes you to the heart of change in the cities where it is most acute, and where it is resulting in the most provocative new business models, forcing us to question what this could mean for how we think, live and work.