1. DCEO
  2. Why Illinois
  3. Nexus of Innovation

Did You Know?


  • In 1847, Chicago became home to reaper production when the machines were introduced to prairie farmers, a turning point in Illinois’ agriculture and food processing industries.  Source: Encyclopedia of Chicago

  • George Dole, the father of Chicago’s meatpacking industry, innovated the market mechanisms (shipping, warehouse and elevator systems) that made Chicago a major transshipment point.  Source: Encyclopedia of Chicago

  • Chicago became the first North American city to construct a comprehensive sewer system, including underground reservoirs to hold storm water.  Source: Encyclopedia of Chicago

  • As the Chicago River divides the city into three parts, Chicagoans were impelled to become leading innovators in bridge technology.  Source: Encyclopedia of Chicago

  • The former Pullman Palace Car Company of Chicago produced the first “Palace” railroad car that could be used by day as well as for sleeping.  Source: Encyclopedia of Chicago

  • Montgomery Ward & Co., located in Chicago, was one of the first retailers to initiate direct mail marketing whereby consumers could buy direct from manufacturers.  Source: Encyclopedia of Chicago

  • The University of Chicago developed the only known method for the production of plutonium-239.  Source: Encyclopedia of Chicago

  • ZBB Energy, a small energy storage business in Illinois, developed the microgrid to be used as a test bed for the first deployment of its kind in the U.S.  Source: Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, 2011 Report

  • Illinois is the second state to provide federated access to a state open data portal, including the development of mobile apps built around this data.  Source: Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, 2011 Report

  • When launched, the Illinois State Buildings Initiative (ISBI) will be the first multi-building ancillary services and energy efficiency project of its kind to manage energy across the multi-building platform.  Source: Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, 2011 Report

  • For the past 20 years, 1 out of every 20 domestic patents has been issued to an Illinoisan.  Source: Global Intellectual Property Center – Innovation Works for Illinois