Chicago Happenings

Catalyst Ranch’s Unique 2016 Calendar – April
Be inspired each month by creating a one-of-a-kind piece of art with our 2016 Adult Coloring Calendar. Each month’s drawing will be a collaboration between you and the artist, MJ Ernst.

Ignite Theatre
An on-going diverse series, Ignite Theatre features some classic, some bizarre, some hilarious plays, musicals or other fantastical productions.

Incite Insight Series   May 23 & June 6, 2016
Incite Insight intends to bring together experts in Innovation and anyone who wants to cross train their innovation muscles. Each workshop will bring you the latest research and tools, compelling discussion and the opportunity to make real progress in your innovation processes

Griffin Theatre’s “Game On” Gala – May 7, 2016
Enjoy Dinner, Drinks, Dancing, Entertainment, a Silent Auction and Fun & Games!

Swing For Kids Stampede – May 9, 2016
Join us to support arts education and bring joy to the future ranch hands and wranglers of tomorrow!

Helping Refugee Families Create Homes They Love – May 10, 2016
Join us as we welcome the community in to break bread and discuss how to provide homes to refugee families to this country, not just places to live.

Food Choices Documentary – May 13, 2016
This feature length film takes a broader look and explores the impact that our food choices have not only on our own health, but also on the health of our planet.

Business Improv Workshop – May 17, 2016
In this interactive workshop, you will participate in a lecture and series of improvisation-based exercises led by professional improvisers.

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Ignite Theatre logo final


When you’re already the leader in creative space for innovative meetings and events and your venue is in the West Loop, the Chicago neighborhood known as Innovation Alley, how do you take things to the next level?


You do Theatre! You take theatre out of the theater and put it in a space designed to Ignite your Imagination. Catalyst Ranch introduces Ignite Theatre.





Next Show Coming Soon!

Incite Insight Series



Catalyst Ranch is a place where innovation happens all the time so it makes sense to look to us for expertise.


Real innovation isn’t easy. It has to be conceived and then put to work for the benefit of all. And in order for an idea or inspiration to become an innovation, many people must work together toward the best possible outcomes.


Our new series Incite Insight intends to bring together experts in Innovation and anyone who wants to cross train their innovation muscles. Each workshop will bring you the latest research and tools, compelling discussion and the opportunity to make real progress in your innovation processes. We’ll help guide you to a place where innovation happens every day.


Incite Insight Series: Practical techniques for making innovation part of your new routine.







The Future of Customer Experience

May 23, 2016




Every interaction between a brand and a consumer shapes customer experience (CX). Companies that refine this path to purchase by creating valuable, efficient and positive experiences reap great rewards: satisfied, loyal customers, increased referrals, revenue and more.


Today, CX is radically changing–and fast. According to Walkers Customer 2020 Study, “By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.”



For services like Amazon’s Dash, Apple Pay, and Blue Apron, innovating the end to end journey has become their strongest competitive advantage. So, what is the future of customer experience when these types of disruptions are everywhere?



Join Yogesh Chavda, founder of Y2S Consulting, for a collaborative roundtable discussion to explore the crusaders of customer experience today and dive deep into the emerging trends, methods, technologies and influences transforming the way we do business.



Together, we will examine business models, product delivery methods, wayfinding, payment processing and other innovations to learn how these insights can be used to optimize your company’s future.



You should leave this workshop with the following:

– A greater understanding of defining your future state customer experience

– A firm grasp on how to identify early indicators to pay attention to in your industry

– An outline of how to turn insights into a strategic roadmap to implement your refined CX

– Tips and recommendations on enrolling your organization in the process


Monday, May 23

3:00 pm — 6:00 pm

Catalyst Ranch, 656 W Randolph St, Chicago

Tuition:  $100

Register here button







Note:  Registration closes Wednesday, May 18.










Creating Mash-ups with Gregg Fraley of KILN USA

June 6, 2016


Learn the how to leverage the power of concept blends to solve problems and innovate.



It’s Reese’s peanut butter with chocolate, iTune’s music files with a brand new purchasing system and your favorite Top 40 song with a golden oldie. It’s combining the wine press with the concept of movable type to create the Printing Press. Mash-ups are behind many of the best inventions and innovations of all times. Breakthrough innovation happens when you combine concepts that have never been joined before.



Join KILN USA’s Chief Solver Gregg Fraley—author of Jack’s Notebook, for a detailed look at creative problem solving and mash-ups. Gregg will review the “how to” of combining complex concepts. This is a hands-on workshop (with a participant maximum of 30 people) where actual concept combinations will be done, using KILN’s IdeaKeg trend-objects. IdeaKeg by KILN was recently featured in the book Trend Drive Innovation by Henry Mason. IdeaKeg is a great tool but you can do concept blends/mash-ups with your own objects and concepts. With Fraley as your guide, you’ll develop your own breakthrough mash-ups and learn how to accelerate the innovation process in your own work.


Monday, June 6

4:00 pm — 6:30 pm

Catalyst Ranch, 656 W Randolph St, Chicago

Tuition:  $50

Number of RSVP’s



Gregg Fraley is an innovation consultant, writer, trainer, and speaker.  He facilitates idea generation/strategy sessions, consults on new product development, and on innovation process.  He’s worked with J&J, Verizon, Frito-Lay, Givaudan, Bayer, Budweiser, Allstate, CBOE, Johnsonville Sausage, Leo Burnett Advertising, SCJ, Nestle-Purina, and US Cellular among many others. Gregg is the founder of Gregg Fraley Innovation (USA) and London-based KILN Ideas, Ltd.


Gregg is a widely recognized expert on structured creative problem solving process. His business parable “Jack’s Notebook” put the CPS (Creative Problem Solving, Osborn-Parnes model) process into an easy-to-read novel in an effort to reach a wider audience for deliberate creativity and innovation concepts.


Griffin Theatre’s “Game On” Gala

May 7, 2016


griffin theatre game on

Ready to get your “Game On” at the Griffin Gala this spring? Join us for some fun and games at Catalyst Ranch, Chicago’s most creative and fun event space. Kick up your heels on the dance floor, or cozy up in a corner, play some mad games at the tables. Enjoy dinner, drinks, dancing, entertainment, a silent auction and some great fun and games in this unique setting. Don’t miss this “Playful” event to support & celebrate the Griffin Theatre!



The mission of the Griffin Theatre Company is to create extraordinary and meaningful theatrical experiences for both children and adults by building bridges of understanding between generations that instill in its audience an appreciation of the performing arts. Through artistic collaboration the Griffin Theatre Company produces literary adaptations, original work and classic plays that challenge and inspire, with wit, style and compassion for the audience.



Saturday, May 7, 2016

6:30 pm — 10:00 pm

Catalyst Ranch, 656 W Randolph St, Chicago


$75 per Person
$375 for a Table of 6.
$500 for a Table of 8.
Sponsorships at the $250, $500 and $1,000 level.


Register here button


Helping Refugee Families Create Homes They Love




May 10, 2016




Let’s gather, share a bite to eat, and talk about how we can help refugees transform their apartments into spaces that feel like home. In particular, we will be discussing the creation of a new event where refugee families can come in and “shop” for artwork and decorative items.


The agencies which help families get into a stable situation do an amazing job, but everything the families receive is given to them – they have no choices. And we all know that being able to select your own artwork and decorative items is what makes you feel like you have a home you love. Many of us have items we no longer cherish as much as we once did or are dealing with inherited items from various relatives that we cannot possibly incorporate into our homes. So, what better way to pass on the love than to find the perfect new home for your beloved possessions with someone who will love them as much as you did? If this subject of discussion is of interest to you and you would like to work on this project/share your ideas & resources, then please join us. More information and background will be provided at the dinner.


As a thank you, a delicious dinner will be provided by Ben’s Bar-Be-Cue.



Tuesday, May 10

6:00 pm

Catalyst Ranch, 656 W Randolph St, Chicago

To register email 


Click here for more info about On The Table





On the Table photoAbout On the Table
The issues facing our region don’t often have a “quick fix.” On the contrary, progress will only result from residents and organizations working to make contributions that add up to a greater solution that helps unite the place we call home.
What you do matters – and when we come together as a community to learn from and with each other, we have the power to impact both neighborhoods and lives.
The Chicago Community Trust, believes that what you do matters, but more importantly, that your voice matters. On the Table is an annual forum sponsored by The Chicago Community Trust, designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships and create a unifying experience across the region. Thousands of Chicago-area residents will gather in small groups to share a meal and discuss the challenges and opportunities we face. These conversations can inspire new ways we can work together to make our communities stronger, safer and more dynamic.