Chicago Camps

Convince the Person You Need to Convince So You Can Attend Prototypes, Process & Play 2018

Improving Your Design Leadership Skills

Here at Chicago Camps, we’ve scoured the internet to review a whole bunch of the best (and frankly, the worst) “Convince Your <Boss>” posts so that we could not start our first one from scratch. Then we refined that to be more specific toward Design, and we found some results that considered a lot of things we would be remiss if we overlooked, so we’ve mashed together a bunch of the key themes from all of those other posts to make this one better.

BLUF / TLDR (Bottom Line Up Front / Too Long Didn’t Read):

  • If you don’t live in Chicago, it can cost you $917 - $1,504ish to attend our design leadership conference Prototypes, Process & Play.
  • You’re going to learn and enhance your design leadership skills from deeply experienced professionals leading the design field, learn practical approaches to solving the problems you face today, network with others who can help you after the event, and save a lot of money over other events.
  • Our schedule is amazing and says a lot on its own!
  • There’s a letter that you can copy/paste and update to send to whomever you need to convince at the bottom, if you need it.
  • There’s a discount code at the bottom, too!

The Event: Prototypes, Process & Play

That’s a unique name, right? Our design leadership conference is a curated, single-track event across 2 days in Chicago. The name is from how we choose the folks to speak at the event–they’re proven, established leaders who have learned through experimentation (prototypes), proven methodologies (process), and/or through creative exploration (play).

This sets us up with a great set of lenses to identify the best folks to provide you with the best information needed to do your job–and to do it better! We work non-stop, constant looking, listening, and reviewing the work of others to find the proven, experienced voices from inside the design industry and from outside of it to help us all gain much-needed perspective.

Our schedule of speakers is a direct result of that, and they’re all folks who understand that we work extra hard to provide high-value, low-cost events so that we can be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.

First & Foremost: The Cost

Here are some costs you can expect to incur when you attend Prototypes, Process & Play:

  • $375 — Registration (if you read to the end of this post, you’ll find an extra 10% off!)
  • $286 - $429 (+ taxes) — Conference hotel (The Congress Plaza Hotel offers a rate for $143 a night plus taxes–the code is CCA18 if it doesn’t show up)
  • $10 - $100 — Travel to and from the airports (Roundtrip cost — learn more at the Chicago Transit Authority’s website)
  • $100 — Meals, which could be low depending upon your own interests; Chicago Camps provides coffee and pastry each morning, lunch each day, and more snacks than we should because buying snacks is much harder than you think
  • $300 - $600 — Flights, depending upon where you come from; you’ll know better and we’re just calculating based upon previous flights we’ve seen across the country

Total Price (range): $971 - $1,504

That price depends upon where you’re traveling from–obviously our Chicago-local friends will incur costs substantially lower, and how you choose to travel and eat. Chicago has… look, just a ridiculous amount of incredible food. You won’t go wrong if pick a different place for pizza each night, or if you go out to find the best Italian beef each night. If you want to put your inner foodie to the test, start making some reservations now…

We also do our best to feed you well at our events. We work hard to provide catered meals that meet as many dietary restrictions as possible (currently: no restrictions, vegetarian, and vegan), and thanks to our location we’re not obligated to force hotel meals on you, either! That means we can bring you some of the best finds that Chicago has to offer!

Final thought on the price: We know where we fall on the spectrum of other design leadership events in terms of overall price, and we encourage you to look for the event that brings you the most value. Value, of course, is subjective–find the event that delivers the content that you need to help you continue to improve and grow!

And if that happens to be our event, bring the entire team. Contact us at info [at] chicagocamps [dot] org for more information on discounts for 3 or more!

Also: We know that the other cost here is Time Away From Work. We’ve made arrangements for wifi at the venue, and we’re working out spaces to allow you to take phone calls, have a little privacy, and/or some quiet. We’ll do our best to be helpful in that regard!

Second: The Value

The value is pretty straight forward, fortunately!

  • You’re going to learn from people with a lot of experience, and you’re going to do it in a short period of time. We carefully curated the best folks in the field to share their wisdom and hard-learned lessons on the topics that you care about and need to learn more about. That’s pretty awesome.
  • You’re going to go back to work with practical approaches to tackling current problems. Yep. You’ll start percolating from the moment you hear the speakers drop their science (or art) on you, and you’ll be anxious to spring into action–you’ll start thinking about plans to put into place, start messaging colleagues you can activate, and start scheduling meetings from the auditorium (because we’ll have wifi and you may get excited about what you’re learning).
  • You get to level-up by learning from the best in the design industry–and some who aren’t in it. This group of amazing speakers hail from companies you interact with daily–they lead teams that help make your experiences great! They’ve written books about the challenges you face. They have experienced unique challenges that you can learn about–and learn how to apply those to how you work.
  • There’s networking opportunities with like-minded, like-challenged individuals and brilliant speakers from all over the industry. Sure, you can network for your next role or to fill the vacancy you have on your team–everyone understands that. Our audiences are pretty kind and cool, and we’ve heard tale of people making new friends from across the globe. It’s great to have the email of someone else going through similar challenges so you can share your experiences–you’ll get that chance!
  • The cost is part of the value. We keep our costs low, and we know that makes it a little bit easier to make the case for going because it makes your costs low, too. We’ve had companies send entire teams to make attending the conference part of a bigger retreat or other team activity.

Third: The Content

We’ve been pulling together a schedule for 2018 that is really exciting! Internally we’re calling the days “Design Leadership for Everyone” and “Flavors of Design Leadership” and that’s a great way of understanding what’s in store for you!

Check out the schedule and see why we think you’re going to love the event we’ve curated for you!

You’ll learn about:

  • Showing up as a new design leader, whether or not that’s what you set out to be
  • Designing the experience your team has working together
  • Adapting your leadership style to meet different team members’ needs
  • How to take care of your team and keep them healthy and growing
  • All the things design leaders do, including many no one talks about
  • How to be more thoughtful and deliberate about diversity and inclusion
  • How to understand if you and your organization are the right fit for each other and what to do if that’s not a perfect match
  • Figuring out your best career path, and how to help your team figure out theres
  • What it’s like to lead design in a large, huge enterprise organization
  • What it’s like to leave leading design in a huge enterprise organization and lead design in your own organization / a smaller team
  • What it’s like when someone leaves the design leader job and you’re the one that has to unravel all the cables and try to take over

That’s two whole days of amazing right there, and that’s probably an understatement.

In addition to all of this design leadership, we’re bringing you some post-lunch lightning talks that are all about learning how others do their work. We’re going to learn how a DJ designs music, how an artist takes her ideas and turns them into photorealistic, gigantic pieces of chalk art, and then makes this magic into a business for herself, how a game maker has successfully run 1, maybe 2, Kickstarter projects, depending upon how the second one goes, and we’ll have one more coming soon that’ll be every bit as interesting as the ones described.

We’ve got a lot for your brain to devour!

Fourth: A Letter, If You Need It

Writing is hard. Writing an email or preparing a script for someone who you need to convince to let you do something is probably more difficult, if not a little stressful. We’re hoping the following sample email is useful to you–and feel free to check out the other posts we referenced at the bottom of this post to find some additional examples if ours isn’t right for your needs!

Dear [Person Who Needs Convincing],

I’d like to attend the design leadership conference, Prototypes, Process & Play ( in Chicago on August 9th and 10th. It’s a carefully curated two-day conference that will help us improve our design leadership skills by allowing me to learn from experts across a variety of organizations such as Amazon, AT&T, Clearleft, Governments, and more.

Here are some of the key pieces of information you should know about the event:

  • It’s only $375, and they’ve offered a 10% discount. This makes it one of the least expensive events in the industry, several times over.
  • The speakers are impressive professionals who not only lead at major organizations, they’re also authors, community leaders, and individuals who have worked hard to bring change to the design community and the world.
  • I’ll be able to grow my leadership skills and apply that to the team immediately.
  • I’ll be able to identify new ways of thinking and working that I can share with the design team, and your leadership team.
  • I’ll gain from decades of experience over the course of just two short days.

I’d appreciate the opportunity to continue to learn and grow with and for our organization. Please consider this opportunity–I’ve provided a total cost break-down for you below.

Best regards,

[Awesome Person You]

You may want to consider asking your supervisor to attend with you, especially if design leadership is new to them, as well. We realize that a lot of times design leaders report to people who may not have had a lot of previous experience or exposure to design, and it may be worth inviting them along.

We hope this has been helpful—it’s a lot of information, and your reward is that promised 10% off discount code: CONVINCE2018

If you’re planning on bringing a team of more than 3, please contact us at info [at] chicagocamps [dot] org and we’ll be happy to discuss additional discounts.

Here are some of the references we drew upon to craft our Convince Your post:

Chicago Sponsors Camps

  • Rosenfeld Media
  • Simplecast
  • Lead Honestly
  • Columbia College Chciago

Code of Conduct

All attendees, speakers, sponsors and volunteers at our conference are required to agree with the following code of conduct. Organizers will enforce this code throughout the event. We are expecting cooperation from all participants to help ensuring a safe environment for everybody.

The Short Version
Full Version

Our conference is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks, workshops, parties, Twitter and other online media. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers.