About BarnRaise


BarnRaise is a uniquely structured maker-conference that connects design firms, community-based organizations, and participants to address a social topic embedded in the Chicago community. Under the facilitation of a design firm, participants will work in multi-disciplinary teams to develop a user-centered understanding of a problem posed by a community organization and prototype viable solutions.

Each person involved in BarnRaise brings a valuable lens and skill set—as a whole we are stronger than the sum of our parts.


We seek to connect disparate ideas and points of view to push towards synergistic solutions and possibilities. In order for these solutions and possibilities to thrive, we seek to build and sustain an open, collaborative culture by breaking down silos and facilitating uncharted connections.

At this maker-conference we will encourage our participants, design firms and community partners to consider: what does a culture of change look and feel like at at the individual, organizational and community levels?

What WE do at the Institute of Design

As designers, we are connectors. We intend to understand and simplify the complexities of our everyday lives as well as translate them across different contexts in meaningful ways.

At the Institute of Design (ID) we believe that a room of multiple perspectives can catapult big change. BarnRaise embodies ID students’ values that design methods can impact our local community for the better.

2015 Schedule

We've also built out interactive schedules for web and mobile where you can find more information about each activity: 



Read more about Chris Finlay's keynote speech, and more about Ciara and Samantha's presentation.


Read more about our 2015 panel.

Crash Course Leaders

2015 Core Team

Brilliant Advisors