A Conference Build On Difficult, but Fulfilling Challenges

In our 6th year, the word shift quickly began to define the conference. We moved to a brand new venue in Naperville that would help us grow throughout the Chicago area for years to come and increased our attendees to more than 500 (more than 600 if you include additional personnel like volunteers, assistants, and speaker handlers). A new lineup of amazing speakers featuring a true variety of ideas, ranging from juvenile imprisonment and cyberbullying to collegiate eSports and  microbiology.

The event also featured our first, production-quality livestream of the conference, which was viewed by thousands of individuals online, and our first launch of the ThinkFaire initiative, a fusion science fair and art gallery that tells the deep stories behind local products, concepts, and experiments.

We also had more partners and more volunteers than ever before, and featured a record nine adventures for nearly 300 of our attendees, including Stickney Water Treatment Plant, the Green Earth Institute Farm, the College of DuPage Homeland Security Training Institute, Naperville Public Library and Idea Lab, and Brightleaf Homes’ High Performance Living Space.

Conference Statistics

The Conference

  • Attendees: 547
  • Speakers & Performers: 22
  • Partners: 26
  • Volunteers: 42
  • Organizers: 9
  • Adventures: 9
  • Collective hours worked: 3,500+
  • % Increase in attendees from 2014: 64%

The Experience

  • 97% of attendees said they’d attend another TEDxNaperville
  • 94% of attendees rated the event as “brilliant” or “good”
  • What attendees enjoyed the most: Time & flow of the event, speaker variety, venue & location
  • What attendees commented on the most: Variety of ideas, engaging activities, energetic atmosphere

Other Info


What Ideas Were Spread?

Lewis Achenbach - TEDxNaperville Talks 2015
Lewis Achenbach and company provided us with a unique fusion of music and art.
George Carey - TEDxNaperville Talks 2015
George Carey showed us the modern family and gave us insight into its drivers and leaders.
Meryl Davis - TEDxNaperville Talks 2015
Meryl Davis came out about her struggles with a disease and how she achieved perfection on the ice despite it.
Wes Douglas - TEDxNaperville Talks
Wes Douglas, our resident artist, designed unique flags based on each of our speakers' ideas, inspired by our shown TED Talk, Roman Mars' discussion on designing flags.
Dr. Michelle Drouin - TEDxNaperville Talks 2015
Dr. Michelle Drouin inspired us to open discussion on the rules and restrictions of technology and intimacy.
Jack Gilbert - TEDxNaperville Talks 2015
Jack Gilbert explained why we should all have a dog, and why his new research on bacteria is changing how we learn, look, act, and think.
Jill Howe - TEDxNaperville 2015
Jill Howe and company reinvigorated our need for powerful storytelling, featuring emotional stories from three of her top storytellers.
Kurt Melcher - TEDxNaperville Talks 2015
Kurt Melcher asked shocking questions and made passionate arguments about the foundation of video games as a collegiate-level athletic sport.
Rook Nelson - TEDxNaperville Talks 2015
Rook Nelson dove into the stage with an explanation of what it takes to break world records in the air while falling at terminal velocity.
Trisha Prabhu - TEDxNaperville Talks 2015
Trisha Prabhu discussed the challenges of cyberbullying, why adolescents do it, and how her application helps stop it at its source.
Russ Riendeau - TEDxNaperville Talks
Russ Riendeau returned to break up the talks with fun and unusual disruption sessions.
Jeff Wallace - TEDxNaperville Talks 2015
Jeff Wallace put us behind bars and into the world of juvenile imprisonment, describing its problems and how we can fix them.
Arden Warner - TEDxNaperville Talks 2015
Arden Warner showcased a radically new idea for saving the environment from disastrous oil spills and shared his unique way of thinking that helped him do so.


Activities & Experiences

The activities were endless this year at TEDxNaperville, with almost too much to see and experience. Many of our partners created special activities for our attendees, from the College of DuPages’s decision making virtual simulation and bed-of-nails physics demonstration to Edward-Elmhust Health’s therapy dogs and the Experiential Fuse speaker lounge. The conference also featured the ThinkFaire, a unique fusion between an art gallery and a science fair, telling deep stories behind locally created products, concepts, and experiments.

Some of Robert Morris University's Collegiate eSports team.
Attendees viewing the Fermilab touch table in the ThinkFaire.
Exhibitor Todd Kuebelbeck showcasing his smartboard pen during the ThinkFaire.
Students from the University of Chicago designing a new flag for Naperville.
Attendees frying marshmallows at our dessert-making station.
Attendees try out an Oculus Rift for the first time, experiencing virtual reality for the first time.
Attendees at the College of DuPage Homeland Security Training Institute's Decision Making Simulator
Edward-Elmhurst Health brought therapy dogs for our attendees to play with.
Attendees during one of our breakout sessions.
College of DuPage showcased real physics with their bed of nails demonstration.
Attendees during one of our breakout sessions.
Dr. Michelle Drouin in the Experiential Fuse speaker lounge after the first break.

What’s Next?

You can be a part of this amazing experience in 2016! If you’ve ever been an attendee, consider expanding your experience by volunteering or partnering. We cannot do this event with out you!

Do you or someone you know have an idea worth spreading? Apply to speak at next year’s event. View our speaker page to apply.

  1. View the 2015 speaker videos here.
  2. View the 2015 event photos on Flickr
  3. Join our mailing list to get updates on when speaker videos are available.  Sign Up
  4. Stay connected with us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and announcements.