The Social Innovation Summit: Catalyzing Societal Change

The Summit's power lies in its ability to assemble participants from diverse sectors, each bringing their perspectives and expertise - all dedicated to purpose and social impact

Emerging as an effective catalyst for addressing pressing societal challenges, the Social Innovation Summit has led to innovative solutions that have improved global policy and changed lives. The Landmark Ventures-curated event features a mix of keynote speeches, panel discussions, and interactive workshops designed to drive meaningful action.

This year is no exception. Thought leaders, innovators, philanthropists, and community activists from around the globe, united in their quest for solutions, will meet in Chicago on June 4-5th. An impressive roster of C-Suite and policy leaders are delivering keynotes and moderate roundtables, including Dr. Chelsea Clinton, vice-chair of the Clinton Foundation, and Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois, both well-known for their longstanding commitment to social impact efforts.

Landmark Ventures follows a unique model combining business development services, investment banking, and special events, also hosts the CIO Summit, which convenes business, technology, venture capital, and innovation leaders. These two gatherings enable Landmark to bring diverse voices together to advance needed change.

Photo Credit: Landmark Ventures – Social Innovation Summit 2023

Spirit of Collaboration

The Summit’s true power lies in assembling participants from diverse sectors, each bringing their perspectives and expertise. Entrepreneurs with groundbreaking ideas, non-profit leaders with deep community insights, corporate executives bringing resources and economic clout to the table, and policymakers able to effect change converge, contributing to a tapestry of perspectives and complementary skills. The resultant cross-pollination of ideas leads to innovative solutions that would likely not emerge in more homogenous settings.

Beyond buzzwords, inclusivity and diversity are the essence of the Summit’s ethos. The complex, multifaceted problems our world faces require input from a broad range of stakeholders, and those who attend believe that every voice, regardless of its size, matters and contributes to the collective impact the gathering seeks. 

Photo Credit: Landmark Ventures – Social Innovation Summit

Fostering Innovation and Driving Impact

Innovative ideas that lead to action are the lifeblood of the Social Innovation Summit. The event serves as an incubator, providing a platform to present ideas in motion and receive feedback from a policy- and business-savvy audience. This supportive environment can help refine concepts into viable, effective solutions.

The Innovation Showcase, a Summit highlight, offers startups and social enterprises an opportunity to pitch their projects to a receptive panel of judges and an audience of interested investors and potential partners. The showcase provides high-level exposure, valuable feedback, and a chance to secure funding essential for scaling solutions.

Social Innovation Summit impacts reverberate well beyond the event itself. Discussions and connections often lead to collaborative projects that effect change, from local community initiatives to global movements. This is the Summit’s greatest strength. Collaborations that took root at the Summit have led to education, healthcare, and environmental sustainability initiatives, benefiting underserved communities worldwide.

According to Barb Short, senior director, Corporate Social Responsibility at Sanofi, who is attending her third Summit and speaking at a Day One Roundtable titled HEALTH EQUITY & ACCESS: “The Social Innovation Summit has always been my go-to to learn from changemakers who are not only bold, but also are sleeves-rolled, connecting across sectors to understand nuance and innovate new collaborative methods toward meaningful movement.”

Models for Success and Agents of Change

The Summit also spotlights successful social innovation models, providing practical examples for others to follow. These case studies demonstrate how meaningful change is achieved, providing a roadmap for replicating or adapting successful strategies in other communities.

A notable success story: a not-for-profit social enterprise that developed a low-cost water purification system for use in developing countries attracted investors and partners during the Summit, leading to partnerships that drove broad adoption of its technology. Today, millions have access to clean drinking water thanks to conversations and connections made during the two-day meeting.

Empowerment is also a key theme at the Summit. Participants gain the skills and confidence to drive community change through workshops, mentoring sessions, and networking opportunities. This is vital for young leaders and emerging social entrepreneurs, who often face significant barriers to achieving their goals.

The Leadership Lab, one of the Summit’s standout sessions, provides intensive training and mentorship to these emerging leaders. Participants learn about project management and social impact strategies, which equip them with the tools to lead successful initiatives. Many alum have gone on to create successful projects in their communities, underscoring the Summit’s lasting influence.

Systemic Challenges

While celebrating individual innovations, the Summit recognizes the need to tackle systemic challenges, such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. It provides a forum for discussing these broader issues and developing strategies for effectively tackling them.

The Summit facilitates dialogue between different sectors that must be involved in addressing systemic change. For example, a panel might bring together policymakers, business leaders, and activists to discuss strategies for reducing income inequality. By fostering these cross-sector dialogues, the summit helps build the coalitions needed to address challenges of the greatest possible scope.

Is it a Meeting or a Movement?

Finally, the Social Innovation Summit serves as a powerful platform for advocacy. The summit shapes public discourse and influences policy by spotlighting critical social issues, exploring innovative, collaborative solutions, and—critically—building the foundation for empowered advocacy. Many speakers use their platform to serve as agents for change, raising awareness and mobilizing support for worthy causes addressing the most important issues of our time.

For example, a recent Summit speaker used their platform to call for criminal justice reform, highlighting the need for systemic changes to more comprehensively address the challenges of mass incarceration. This speech raised awareness and inspired participants to advocate for change, demonstrating the Summit’s ripple effect.

The Social Innovation Summit in Chicago is more than an event; it’s a movement driving societal change. By uniting diverse participants, fostering innovation, and addressing systemic challenges, the Summit’s impacts reverberate. Its emphasis on inclusivity, collaboration, and empowerment ensures that a wide range of voices are heard and that innovative solutions receive the support they need to succeed.

As the Summit continues to grow and evolve, its influence will only increase, inspiring more individuals and organizations to join the movement to work toward social good. In a world that faces complex, interconnected challenges, the Social Innovation Summit stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in creating a better future for all.

Attending the Summit with a story to share on how this gathering has influenced your purpose and social impact efforts – reach out!

Credit: Medika Life – Editor-in-Chief Gil Bashe will be onsite during the Social Innovation Summit – share your story!

[Special thanks to John Bianchi for his review of this preview piece and to the Landmark Ventures team for inviting Medika Life to attend this inspiring gathering of changemakers.]


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Gil Bashe, Medika Life Editor
Gil Bashe, Medika Life Editor
Health advocate connecting the dots to transform biopharma, digital health and healthcare innovation | Managing Partner, Chair Global Health FINN Partners | MM&M Top 50 Health Influencer | Top 10 Innovation Catalyst. Gil is Medika Life editor-in-chief and an author for the platform’s EcoHealth and Health Opinion and Policy sections. Gil also hosts the HealthcareNOW Radio show Healthunabashed, writes for Health Tech World, and is a member of the BeingWell team on Medium.


Editor in Chief, Medika Life

Meet the Medika Life editor-in-chief, working closely with founding editors Robert Turner and Jeff Livingston, MD.

Not your usual health-industry executive, Gil Bashe has had a unique career shaped by more than three decades in health policy, pharma, life science, digital health, eco-health, environmental innovation and venture capital and informed his determination to ‘give back.’

A champion for health innovation that sustains people’s lives and improves their care, Gil honed his perspectives on both battlefield and boardroom. He started in health as a combat medic in an elite military unit. He went on to serve as a clergyman tending to the ill; as a health products industry lobbyist in environmental affairs; as CEO of one of the world’s largest integrated health marketing companies; as a principal in a private equity-backed venture; as a Medika Life author and Health Tech World correspondent; and as Chair Global Health and Purpose at FINN Partners, a community of purpose dedicated to making a difference.

In the forefront of change, Gil is ranked as a Top 10 Digital Health Influencer; Medical Marketing & Media Top 10 Innovation Catalyst; Medika Life named him a “Top 50 Global Healthcare Influencer,” and PM360 presented him with its “Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement Award.” He is a board member for digital health companies and is an advisor to the CNS Summit, Galien Foundation, Let’s Win for Pancreatic Cancer, Marfan Foundation and other health-centered organizations.





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