Peter Sims

Keynote Speaker

Peter Sims is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. His latest book is Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, from Simon & Schuster: Free Press. Previously he was the coauthor with Bill George of True North, the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best-selling book. He also worked in venture capital with Summit Partners, a leading investment company, including as part of the team that established the firm’s London office.

Peter’s keynote talk will address...

What do Thomas Edison, Chris Rock, and Jeff Bezos all have in common?

Answer: An understanding that the biggest ideas spring forth from a series of small discoveries, reworked to achieve a great result.

Based on over 200 interviews with successful creators and innovators, Sims demonstrates that the kind of linear problem-solving and fear of failure we were conditioned to embrace actively thwarts creativity. Whether it’s Steve Jobs or architect Frank Gehry or the “braintrust” at Pixar, there is no complete plan or vision at the outset. Rather, through a process of trying and failing in incremental ways, they gain critical information as they go from one small, experimental step to the next – which eventually lead to extraordinary breakthroughs. These so-called “little bets” helped spark the ideas that led to companies like Twitter and blockbuster movies like the Toy Story franchise. We can learn to think and work like those we think of as geniuses – failing fast to learn quickly, trying imperfect ideas, focusing on finding problems rather than solving them, and practicing highly immersed observation – to turn our own little bets into big successes.

Special Events

Opening Night Wednesday August 8 Media Production Center 16th & State St Chicago, IL 60605
The MPC is a 35,500-square-foot state-of-the-art facility featuring two film production sound stages, a motion-capture studio, digital labs, animating suites, and a fabrication shop. Join new and old friends for light bites and beverages. Trolleys will shuttle conference attendees between 1104 S. Wabash and the MPC.
Annual UFVA Picnic Thursday August 9 Northerly Island Chicago, IL 60605
Located on beautiful Lake Michigan at the heart of the Museum Campus, Northerly Island offers spectacular views of of the Chicago skyline. Enjoy a picnic feast in the air-conditioned tent, and play lawn games on the grounds. Dance to The Oblates of Blues as they rock out some of your favorite blues numbers. Trolley buses will shuttle conference attendees between 1104 S. Wabash and Northerly Island.
Golf Outing Friday August 10 Jackson Park Golf Course 6401 S Richards Dr Chicago, IL 60649
Join your colleagues on the links at the beautiful Jackson Park Golf Course. Transportation will be provided between 1104 S. Wabash and the golf course.

New Media Reception Friday August 10 Conaway Center 1104 S Wabash Chicago, IL 60605
Join your colleagues for wine and appetizers while viewing this year’s UFVA New Media participants’ work.
Awards Banquet Saturday August 11 Adler Planetarium Chicago, IL 60605
Trolley buses will shuttle conference attendees between 1104 S Wabash and the historic Adler Planetarium on the lakefront.

Conference Map

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