Chicago's UI Labs


UI Labs started in 2014 with the idea of creating a forum for collaboration and finding solutions to large-scale challenges (such as IoT or Smart Cities) which are too big for just one organisation to tackle.


UI LABS solves large-scale challenges by bringing University + Industry together with startups and government to accelerate the deployment of emerging technologies through collaboration. 

UI LABS is developing a portfolio of applied research and commercialization Labs that lead to a return on investment for its partners, improve local, regional and national competitiveness, and transform entire industries. Across its current Labs, UI LABS has over 200 members from industry, academic and research institutions, states and cities, and community organizations.



UI Labs gave birth to two growing world-leading innovation accelerators: the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) and the City Digital lab.


About tools for ecosystem coordination (excerpt from Nesta's ‘Idea Bank’ for Local Policymakers):

A slightly different notion to cluster development is ecosystem coordination. Even if there is not a specific digital cluster, many cities are actively facilitating or federating their ecosystem by creating bodies that link the activities of the organisations concerned – such as universities, funding bodies, incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, service providers (like legal, financial services etc.) and large corporations. This helps the city to take a structured and longterm approach to developing digital entrepreneurship. Such bodies can also help investors, customers and other partners to navigate the seemingly-chaotic and rapidly-changing startup environment of a city.