Last Friday, Jellyvision had the unique pleasure of hosting the “Confusion Destruct-a-thon and Communication Kumbaya” here at 848 W. Eastman, as part of the 2015 Chicago Ideas Week.

The goal of the three-hour event was to demonstrate how the principles of communication the creative teams here at Jellyvision use to make our interactive conversations-simple, engaging language, apt metaphors, great illustrations, humor and surprise-can be used to transform even the most complex topics into something clear and memorable.

Nearly 50 confusion-destructors brought their eager minds to our office, and we brought the brain food (donuts, coffee, and insights). We split all attendees into 7 teams, each led by a Jellyvision writer/artist duo. And each team had two hours to both bone up on a complex topic and explain it in 60 seconds to the entire group, in a way even a 10-year-old could understand it.

The challenging topics teams were faced with included: How does the heart beat? How does a chameleon change color? How does facial recognition software work? How does cloud computing work? How does cancer spread? And the results? Well, they were pretty amazing.

Just to give you a taste, here’s how the group given the super-delicate task of explaining how cancer spreads broke it all down:

  1. Think of the body as a city:


  1. That city is made of up of fast-moving highways (the bloodstream), waste-managing alleyways (the lymphatic system), and hard-working cells doing specific jobs. Police cells-known as the immune system-make sure everything stays in working order:


  1. Cancer happens when that city stops working so perfectly. Let’s take a look at the lungs, where cells with no real job or purpose (called “undifferentiated cells”) start bullying, beating up, and killing the healthy, hardworking lung cells:


  1. When the police immune system cells come to check in on the disturbance in the lungs, those bully cells disguise themselves and the immune system doesn’t destroy them…allowing those bully cells to multiply and run amuck, forming lung cancer.



  1. So, as the bully cancer cells destroy the lung cells and fool the immune cells, they take over by forming a lumpy, bumpy mass known as a tumor. And sometimes, those bully cells want to travel to other places in the body, to set up new headquarters and take over even MORE territory.


  1. To travel, the bully cells can either choose to take the fast-moving blood highway (patrolled by a lot of police immune cells) OR opt for the less-patrolled lymphatic system. That movement of the bully cancer cells is called “metastasis.” Let’s say our bully cells from the lung sneak into the alleys and end up in the liver…


  1. The bully cells use a bunch of tools –including corrosive enzymes– to invade the liver, deplete its resources, and mess things up.


  1. Even though they’ve set up a second outpost in the liver, the cancer is still classified as lung cancer, since it started in the lung:


  1. So now you understand how cancer spreads. Go forth with this knowledge and make somebody else smarter!

For more photos of our Chicago Ideas Week event, click here.

To see how Jellyvision has found ways to delightfully and clearly explain a variety of tricky topics for its customers, click here.

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