Chicago Camps

Prototypes, Process & Play: The Must-Attend Design Leadership Conference

Design Leadership, to quote Amy Jiménez Marquez, can either be something you plan for, or it can sneak up on you. Whether you’ve planned for it or it was something that caught you by surprise, it’s always great to learn from, and lean on, the experience of others who have been down the path, made a few mistakes, and kept moving forward to make some new mistakes.

This is where Prototypes, Process & Play came from! Designers may know how to be awesome at their design work, however, there’s no real manual for how to be a leader in the field—and we’ve got some great authors who can help fill-in the blank pages of that manual for you! We experiment—we observe what others are doing or have done, and we try something new to see if will work for us. We look to existing processes and seek to understand how to make them work for the types of work that we do. And we play—we look for ways to involve and engage and creatively explore the leadership world in a way that helps us grow our own practices and encourages them to thrive.

We carefully curate from the best, most-talented leaders we can find to bring you Prototypes, Process & Play. And our speakers make a very clear choice to be here—we’re one of the lowest-priced events that you’ll find, and we do our best to keep that cost as low as possible so we can be as inclusive as possible, especially to folks who don’t have a sponsor for their continuing education and professional development. We’re fortunate that our speakers believe in what we’re trying to do and want to help us help others learn the skills that they need to be the best leaders that they can be—and to help design the next generation of great designers and great design leaders!

From the very beginning we’ve been blessed to have incredible people helping us move the needle on design leadership. From Dr. Temple Grandin and things that we can learn about human behavior to Dr. Steve Julius to J. Newton-Small to Ashleigh Axios to Jesse James Garrett to… well, really, all of the speakers who have joined us would make a great event just on repeat (and you can do that by finding the videos on Vimeo or listening to the podcasts).

This year, we worked hard to find people who have experiences that we’ve heard others want to learn from. Elizabeth Goodman will share what happens when you inherit a team from someone else. Kara DeFrias expounds upon what she’s learned about taking care of others. Amy Jiménez Marquez explains how she’s learned to adapt her leadership style to meet the needs of the people she works with. Antionette Carol brings us an opportunity to learn from her experience working in diversity and inclusion to help you build out an organization that can produce its best work. And there is so. much. more!

These folks are helping to make the world a better place. Period.

Whatever the challenges you face as you become a leader, the speakers at Prototypes, Process & Play 2018 will undoubtedly provide insights that you can apply to your own situation you find yourself in. And if all the knowledge being delivered to you isn’t enough, true to Chicago Camps form, you will be well-fed, plenty of snacks (we have a tendency to over do it) and a suprise from Jawhole to round out an exceptional two days of nourishing the mind, body and soul.

Please join us this August 9th and 10th and experience learnings from seasoned professionals that pay-it-forward to the help you on becoming the leader that we all need. Head to and get your ticket to the event that will help you navigate your design leadership future.

For us, it’s a privilege to be part of group that brings people the opportunity to gain deep learning about true mentorship, insights into the leadership experience of others, and an ability to learn about what a design leadership career can grow into as careers progress.

We’ll see you soon in Chicago.

Have a brilliant summer designers, leaders, and design leaders!

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.