The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Chicago 2012, November 17-18


Eurekatory specializes in Innovation Interventions. We create 'tack-on' programming for Higher Education and Industry in order to generate solutions to important world problems (such as health literacy, foster care placement, retention in school etc.) through highly gamified, competitive, deliberate college-level curricula. We also consult for organizations and speak on topics like Curricula design, Innovation acceleration, Education, STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) retention, persistence, personas, and the future of the STEM industry. We are active in coming up with new curricular programs and researching and finding new ways to teach, train, challenge, and excite students. We have been very successful in creating innovative and entrepreneurial outcomes in 7 states around the country, with 7 more to come in 2013. We are really good at creating high-impact programming, re-engaging students with their academic curricula, and catalyzing solutions to relevant industry problems...but our specialty is people and print. Not web. So our website is pretty weak.

What new functionality we are looking for

There are three main concerns we need to address:

* Credibility

* Content Management

* Appeal

We are print people. We have significant trouble figuring out how to be the TED, Chicago Ideas Week, IDEO, Frog, Sputnik Observatory of our field online, but that's exactly what we are.

We need to demonstrate our cutting edge ideas...without so much detail our formula gets lost. We need to post testimonials...without looking like Yelp. We need to sell our materials (things like booklets [we create narratives or transcripts of our more famous speeches or ideas and make them into a document with pictures and sketches for people to buy], t-shirts, posters)...but that's not our primary source of income and its trouble because we host each of these on different online store services and we have no idea how to put it on our actual website.

We need an RSS Feed of our blog posts. We need a cool and funky overview of our awesome, awesome team. We need a list of our partners. We need a jazzy contact page.

And we need to do all of this while making a giant push for all things geek. We're a team of scientists, educators, designers, and engineers who can't code a decent website.

Shame on us.

How the new functionality will help

We can't be the Frog/Jump/IDEO/[Insert Favorite Innovation Firm here] for Education if we have a website that we "drag-and-dropped" due to our limited time, budget and awful html recall.

A well-designed, well-executed website is like the ultimate calling card. If people don't know you, they want to. If people are on the fence, it pushes them over. We are a very small company that's got a habit for aiming big. In our first year, we have consulted for at least one Fortune 50 company, affected over 400 students in 7 states, been keynotes three times, started pre and post testing, and have come out of the red.

Instead of driving that home, our website makes new clients go "Are you sure?"

A new website could graduate us from a consideration to a contender.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

28 Messages from Supporters

2012-09-19 06:29:09 UTC
Christopher King

I am an electrical engineer at Gonzaga University in Washington. Eurekatory, a company all the way from Chicago (about 1800 miles away), came to my school with their competition The Chicago Innovation Chase and changed my life. Yes, I know the previous statement is somewhat cliche, and your going to hear it from other requests, but it seriously changed my life and how I view myself, others, and the world. Eurekatory intervened at a critical time in my education and unlocked so many talents I did not know I had. I knew I was smart in some things, but I considered myself to be a mediocre engineering major at best. If someone told me last year that I'd be pitching my ideas on how to change the world to high industry executives I would have told them "take a hike, that will not happen, and if it did there is no way possible I'd succeed. I'd just end up looking stupid." Well, it turns out I would have been wrong. I kicked butt at many of the challenges Eurekatory threw my way. Now, when I a faced with a challenge I face it with this mentality: "Hell yea! I can absolutely do this. Let's find out how!" If the thought of failure ever reaches my mind, I think of this: "Well, if it's gonna fail, it will fail massively and with so much glorious amount of learning experience. Besides, facing a mini-Pompeii will only make me stronger."

My team won the Chicago Innovation Chase finals. Yes, there were near massive failures in the challenges, but our high points made those mini-Vesuvius moments all the more worth it. It made us realize that to be successful you have to know how to take your shortcomings, learn from them, and make something incredible from them. Unlike most curriculum out on the market today, Eurekatory's is structured around frustrating moments because innovation cannot occur without frustration. To have a "breakthrough" you actually have to break through and conquer your dilemmas. Please help Eurekatory continue being the catalyst for these breakthroughs. There are others who were like me out there who need an intervention from Eurekatory, and your help will aid in reaching them.

Thank you so much,

Christopher King

2012-09-19 22:12:55 UTC

I am a Computer Engineer from Gonzaga University and when I first heard that The Chicago Innovation Chase (which I later learned was put on by Eurekatory) was coming to Gonzaga, I assembled a team and kept an open mind about what the weekend of innovation might entail. No amount of preparation would have prepared me for what was to come. Late nights, tight deadlines, and being driven up the wall by my teammates were just some of the experiences that the Chase provided for me. However, after the weekend was over, my team and I emerged with decent product and I found a new perspective on how feasible forming a start-up business would be. I also knew how my team behaved. I knew what to expect from each member and how to approach them with a problem. Since the Chase, I have honestly began thinking of what products or services would be cool to offer and what kind of measures I would take to form a business. Without the Chase, I would probably think that self-employment is totally out of the question and I wouldn't have ever given it a second thought. But thanks to the Chase, I now have a new obsession with start-up businesses and pursuing innovation with the possibility of a business application.

2012-10-15 21:53:56 UTC

I have watched the spark Eurekatory and the CIC bring to people's eyes. I have begun complex, audacious writing projects because ONE conversation with a Eurekatory person inspired me to action. I have dreamed and accomplished.

2012-10-15 22:06:55 UTC

I was introduced to the Chicago Innovation Chase and its parent organization, Eurekatory, when one of my friends told me about the semifinals occurring on our campus at Illinois Tech. Not really sure what the competition involved or would require of me, mostly because of their lack of a usable website, I still put a team together and decided to find out what this mysterious thing was.

Turns out the Innovation Chase is a whirlwind weekend of entrepreneurial and ideation challenges that really push you to the limit and force you to find out what your true strengths and weaknesses are. Suffice it to say, I was blown away with how much I learned and more importantly, how much fun I had. I strongly recommend everybody to try the Chicago Innovation Chase, because it will not disappoint, and I love mentioning it whenever I get a chance.

Although my team didn't make it to the finals, we all agreed that we learned a lot from just the semifinals and that we would all do it again in a heartbeat, given the opportunity. Because the Chase opened my eyes to the possibility of startups in Chicago, I am even excited about working on a startup here, instead of looking towards California like every other startup.

As amazing as the Chicago Innovation Chase is, what's even more amazing is all the other cool things Eurekatory does, like working with local high schools to introduce students to entrepreneurial mindsets and explore unique career possibilities before they even get to college or working with teachers to explore new teaching techniques. I learned about these other facets of the organization much later and am very impressed with everything they are doing.

Pretty much the only thing that does not impress me about this organization is their website. While it is decent and passable, it does not represent the extremely high quality work that the team produces in everything else they do. Unfortunately, in this day and age, a strong web presence is crucial for any organization.

Eurekatory is quickly growing into a very strong asset for the Chicago startup and student communities. They deserve and need your help in redesigning their website. I truly believe that if they can receive that help, everybody in Chicago will be better off!

2012-10-15 22:23:08 UTC
Taylor Harvey

As a Hackathon organizer and new partner of The Nerdery's Chicago office, Daniya and Jodi are the prototype of what The Nerdery supports. Innovation for innovation sake, for community sake, and for the sake of self fulfillment.

I can attest to the power of the competition as a former participant. Those 3 days were probably the most stressful days of my life but I still remember the feeling of passion I felt working tirelessly on our project and the fulfillment I left with knowing that I spent the last 3 days doing something I love with my amazing team.

I have also seen the work that goes into this event during my time as a volunteer and I am stunned at how much they improve every event with only themselves and some volunteers to make it happen. If anyone deserves a bit of support, it's these ladies because they are making the entrepreneurship community better by fueling it with new and bright talent; and they are making the future of education better by changing the way we look at engagement with subject matter.

2012-10-17 15:19:31 UTC

I can safely say that participating in the Chicago Innovation Chase was one of the best things I have ever done simply because of how much I was able to learn and how much confidence in myself I gained in only two and a half days. The amount of creative work we had to complete in such short amounts of time helped me learn so much more about business, entrepreneurship and innovation than I ever would have learned in a classroom setting. The professionals we got to work alongside and learn from during the competition were outstanding. The combination of those two plus a real-world problem we needed to solve made for an experience that will change how I attack any problem I may ever solve again. However, the Chase is much more than just a competition - it's a community! Even though the competition is done, Eurekatory and the Chase maintain open lines of communication with all participants, both former and current. They love to support and promote the new endeavors participants are taking on, something you don't see from companies like this. I still communicate regularly with the friends I've made through this community. After everyone goes through such an involved competition that really challenges how we view the world, it's hard not to be friends!
The friends I've made will last a lifetime and the skills I've learned will forever influence my work. This company offers so much to all the students that they touch and they deserve to have a brand new web site to really display how well the company is doing and progressing. Daniya and Jodi are a dream team and would appreciate the help more than anyone else you can find.

2012-10-18 19:01:44 UTC
James Tripiciano

I am an Electrical Engineer at Villanova University. When Eurekatory came to my university I signed up for their innovation competition. When I joined their competition I had no idea what I was going to be doing. They unlocked skills I did not even know I had. It was a fantastic experience and opportunity. They are extremely passionate for their work and they work very hard. They deserve a website makeover!

2012-10-17 22:46:37 UTC
Frank Bonafilia

Eurekatory is an amazing organization that continues to create opportunities for college students to showcase their talents in real life business settings. The Chicago Innovation Chase incorporates "real world" high pressure business settings where the students must collaborate and make high pressure group decisions. There are very few educational programs that offer the level of experiential learning that the Chicago Innovation Chase offers. Eurekatory programs are the future of education and needed for student differentiation, confidence building and employer satisfaction.

2012-10-17 22:52:32 UTC
Sami Nerenberg

I've worked with the founders of the Eurekatory and met several of their students. They are destined to take off and are adding so much value to the lives of many. They are paving the path for students to find their own answers. There is nothing more powerful. They could and are doing so much and a new website would help them flourish!

2012-10-17 23:26:27 UTC
April Welch

Eurekatory is AWESOME. Daniya and Jodi work tirelessly to help students from all over the country refine their skills and bring innovative products and services to market. Daniya is a brilliant young undergraduate student at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She has a keen eye for design and she can draw free hand! Among her many other skills she is tech savvy and eager to learn. If the Nerdery chose to over haul her website I am sure she would be right by the developers and designers pitching in and learning all she could from the pros. If you choose to help Eurekatory your lessons and your work would be shared with college students everywhere. Your generosity would keep on giving.

Best Wishes,

April Welch
Director, Business and Educational Planning, Idea Shop
Program Director, Exelon Summer Institute
Program Director, Academy for Future Leaders in Science and Technology
Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs | Illinois Institute of Technology
3440 South Dearborn St. | Suite 50 | Chicago, IL 60616 | P: 312-567-3196 | F: 312-567-3096

2012-10-18 00:01:27 UTC
Toni Boggan

Jodi and Daniya are dynamos! Their enthusiasm and innovation helped our students become more confidant presenters and entrepreneurs. The combination of unexpected ideas and the pressure to do more, faster pushed our students to try new things and think of themselves in different ways. I wish every one of our students could participate in a weekend like the Chicago Innovation Chase.

They are deserving of a website make over because they lavish so much time on the college students they serve and their selfless devotion to others is changing students!

Toni Boggan, Assistant Director, Center for Engineering Design, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash.

2012-10-18 00:42:32 UTC
Nik Rokop

I've seen the Innovation Chase evolve from a treasure hunt to a real program with design considerations that create results! Congratulations to Daniya and Jodi, who have worked hard to make this an unforgettable experience for the students, and an excellent one for the mentors. My office has supported the Chase financially and with time, and it continues to be a very worthwhile program to support.
Nik Rokop
Managing Director
Entrepreneurship Academy
Knapp Entrepreneurship Center
Illinois Institute of Technology

2012-10-18 01:44:45 UTC
Kyle Pucci, Villanova University, Mechanical Engineer

When I first decided to participate in the Innovation Chase, I was unsure of what I would be experiencing. I had the expectations of another public speaking competition, focused on creating a new product or service. What I got was thrown into the hectic, exciting, and fulfilling life of managing a start-up company, played at 10x speed. I used skills that I never knew that I had, learned from the best professionals in the business, and somehow had time left over to have fun. My friends with Eurekatory are some of the most brilliant, driven, and awesome people that I have ever met. They truly care about the future of each individual participant and help you achieve in more ways than you will probably ever realize. Eurekatory and the Innovation Chase are truly amazing and will help you find yourself, shaping the rest of your professional life.

2012-10-18 02:23:12 UTC

I accidentally met Daniya and Jodi a couple of weeks before the Chase and managed to rope my friends into forming a team for the Spring 2012 Chase. It was undoubtedly one of those experiences that people shouldn't miss. We started out with no idea what to do, and managed to build something big in just one weekend. There were amazing people to learn from, fun tasks to complete, awesome people to compete against and such good coffee. The entire event was a smashing success, all thanks to Daniya and Jodi's hard work. Kudos to them, they definitely deserve a reward for their efforts.

2012-10-18 03:46:23 UTC
Ethan Garrett

I met up with the Eurekatory and Chase team a year and a half ago during the semifinals at Mercer University. My friends and I originally just got involved because we thought it would be a fun way to spend a weekend. Between the semifinals at Mercer and then going to the finals at IIT, we learned more than we thought possible in such a short period of time. The most important things that I learned were about thinking outside of the box and about the legal requirements of developing a new product. During my senior research and design project at Mercer, we actually used what I learned in the Chase when we were planning on patenting what we were developing. Later, after graduation, the creative thinking skills I developed during the Innovation Chase actually helped me get a job. The company I now work for has made innovative thinking one of their main goals for the next few years. The critical thinking abilities I developed during the Innovation Chase were one of the deciding factors on why I got the job. While I hated Jodi and Daniya for how frustrating the competition was because it made me actually THINK for once instead of just going with the obvious solution, it was truly one of the best experiences I've had in my entire life. I love the Chase and the Eurekatory team and can't imagine what my life would be like now if I had never met them and participated in the Chase.

2012-10-18 12:29:37 UTC
David Fritz

I was a judge at the last challenge, and it was an amazing experience. Seeing the hard work the students put into their projects and the valuable experience they were obtaining in the process was very gratifying. The lessons learned from Eurekatory will serve them well in their careers.

2012-10-18 12:50:49 UTC
John G. Stinson

I've had a chance to speak to and judge the students represent this outstanding contest. The students themselves are amongst the brightest, engaged, and impressive ones I've come across in my 20 year career. Jodi and Dainya bring an organized, well-constructed energetic, and fun atmosphere to the contest.
The challenges seek to improve the contestants thought processes and project management skills that will serve them well in starting a business or entering the workforce. Every entrant also has access to state of the art computers, workshops, and equipment that allows them to put together top-notch business plans and models.

I give my time freely as I truely think the contests give back and help our youth in this very competitive global enviroment.

Thank you,
John G. Stinson
Sr. Product Development Scientist - Wrigley Company

2012-10-18 12:58:40 UTC
Karly Miller

I have had the distinct pleasure of being able to watch Eurekatory and the Innovation Chase grow from an idea to truly coming coming into its own and becoming the leader it is today. Jodi and Daniya are two of the most passionate people I know. They have a passion for innovation and for students. They sincerely care for each and every student that gets involved with the competition, guiding them throughout the process and offering their support. They want the students to not only succeed in the competition, but also in their careers and in life in general. This competition prepares students in a multitude of ways, gearing them up to face a competitive economy and marketplace, providing them with invaluable skills and experience they can use for many years going forward. I am inspired by their commitment to the Innovation Chase and to the students. I encourage students that have the opportunity to participate in the competition to do so without hesitation. Not only will they be learning lifelong lessons, they will also be making lifelong friends in your teammates and in Jodi and Daniya, two of the most special people I know. I sincerely hope you will choose to overhaul their website. You will continue to help them reach more students and change more lives.

2012-10-18 15:22:23 UTC
Frances Patterson

I am proud to say I know the 2 hard working young women who started Eurekatory and the Innovation Chase. I am also happy to mention that
my grand daughter, Anna, a high school student, participated with them
and I am happy to say this experience has helped change her.
She was so excited to work with so many smart students to see how
they would take a challenge and a few days later, make a presentation
that was excellent. Being a part of this group helped her to develop
some leadership skills and the next time she participated she was
able to mentor the younger students under her.
Eurekatory is awesome!

A Happy Grandmama!

2012-10-18 19:54:43 UTC
Ruben Ocampo

I was a speaker and judge at the Chicago Innovation Chase finals in September 2012. I was blown away by the quality of the projects presented by the students as well as their ability to quickly create a presentation based on the knowledge I shared. I think Eurekatory and the Chicago Innovation Chase are fantastic examples of what we need to do to promote college-level education in STEM fields, and I am proud to be able to contribute to these efforts.

2012-10-18 21:18:46 UTC

I've had a multi-year relationship with Eurekatory, and I can honestly say that they provide a unique and game-changing approach to education. I know how they change the lives of the students with which they work. I also know that their commitment and hard work will dent the universe (change the world)!

2012-10-18 23:03:36 UTC
Leke A.

Daniya and Jodi have a vision that when it's fully fulfilled, we'll all be asking ourselves, 'How did we get anything done before this?'. They deserve all they help the can get.

2012-10-19 04:29:34 UTC
Terra Donley, Gonzaga University, Electrical Engineering

When the Chicago Innovation Chase came to my school last spring I had no idea what to expect. I had participated in one competition earlier, but it in no way prepared me for the intensity of the Chase. Within the first half hour, I realized that the Chase was going to be something different and was going to challenge me in ways that I could only imagine. What I think is so wonderful about the Chase is that it gives students, especially engineering students such as myself, a chance to be exposed to and do things that are not commonplace in our education. As engineering students, we mostly go to class and work through problems that are set before us, with little chance to be creative or be exposed to tools outside of our field of study that would be of benefit in our careers. The Chase gives students exposure to these tools, such as business plan development, branding and design and critical thinking, just to name a few, all within a timeframe that is manageable, given our busy academic schedules.
Despite my team not making it to the Chicago Innovation Chase finals, I was so inspired by the idea creation and the growth that I saw, both in myself and those around me, that I could not imagine not being at the finals to see the students bring their ideas to fruition, and see what crazy challenges Daniya and Jodi were going to throw at the them along the way! So I bought myself a ticket and got to help behind the scenes, working with the creative geniuses that are Daniya and Jodi. Needless to say, the Chase is one of those rare things that come along in your life that both shape and challenge you and is an experience that I will never forget.

2012-10-19 15:45:11 UTC

Eurekatory is a fantastic organization that is tackling a problem that many would say is too hard: revamping education. They are doing it in their own style, basing everything on sound scientific research. Participating in a Chase event is an eye-opening event; they may tell us that it is not all about the exam grades and homework, but when that is all professors do, it definitely feels like it. Their programs show students what industry wants; it gives them a chance to prove their skills in a multidisciplinary, hectic setting. It is something that everyone who participates instantly recognizes the value. It is extremely hard to explain and have another truly understand what that value is, but a web presence is key to that.

2012-10-19 19:02:49 UTC
Pete Stam, Co-Founder, UrbanBuddy

Eurekatory is a unique organization that provides some of the best preparation for the real-world of business, start-up and innovation I have ever seen. Their approach to dynamic problem solving, technical instruction, and just pure fun can be seen in the participants attitude throughout the events. Eurekatory goes above and beyond a typical business symposium and brings the fire, passion and speed of the real-world directly to these students. I would not be surprised if the next generation of great CEO's have some connection to this program.

2012-10-20 00:02:41 UTC
Salima Bouhriz

I am a civil engineer at Villanova University and I think that it is safe to say the Eurekatory has officially changed the course of my life. Participating in two of their events has been eye opening and a thrilling experience to say the least. They brought out skills in me I never thought I had and pushed me to limits I never thought I was capable of overcoming. Thanks to Eurekatory I know what path I want to take. I am applying to law school thanks to the options they showed me that I never knew I had. I can never thank them enough for giving me, out of all people, this opportunity and for igniting the desire in me to do great things.

2012-10-20 16:44:19 UTC
Nishanth Samala

I had no idea what I was getting into when one of my fellow Intro to Entrepreneurship students convinced me to do the Chicago Innovation Chase. Who knew that I would learn a semester's worth (and more) in 3 days of the Chase. With events like the Chase Finals and the All-Stars, Eurekatory has done an amazing job to kick start meaningful STEM education that, surprisingly, is really fun and engaging. More than that, Daniya and Jodi have fostered a community of people across the country who hadn't otherwise realized their potential. Eurekatory is changing the way we approach learning and I'm really thankful to have had the opportunity to have experienced it. Cliché or not, I can't wait to see what's in store.

2012-10-22 20:23:50 UTC
Emmanuel Marcha

Eurekatory was started by two very good friends mine who shared the dream of helping STEM students. After having the luxury of participating and volunteering at their events, I have seen their dream become reality. Unfortunately, I lack the words to properly describe the thrill and hard work that accompanies each event, but I doubt any participant has ever left without feeling accomplished. I only wish Eurekatory had a non-Wix-based site to better share their vision with the world.

Our Mission

Our mission is to be the solution for the education crisis: we create microcosms of deliberate programming to uniquely prepare STEM talent to accelerate real change in the world. Just last year, we had 200 students re-engage with education, solve major world problems, design, prototype, market, execute and launch the product/service they created as a just 2 days. (The website for this particular program is, //just for more information).