Bringing it Home: A Social Innovation Summit for the Pacific Northwest

August 28, 2014 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

If the 2013 Elevating Impact Summit in Portland was a wild experiment, the 2014 Summit brought it home. For two years in a row now, hundreds have gathered for a full day of stories, discussions, and activities focused on social innovation across sectors and ages. The annual Elevating Impact Summit has become a touchstone for changemakers in the Pacific Northwest, and its value transcends the conference. Highlights from this summer’s event provide us with a social innovation roadmap, a lesson plan for our future, and an unending source of inspiration.

I. PITCH FEST
The Elevating Impact Summit will always highlight past experiences and great accomplishments, but it will also reveal insights into rising trends and the innovators who are building our future. The 2014 Pitch Fest was the stage for six local social entrepreneurs presenting their ideas in three minutes each. The audience voted on their favorite, and the winners received cash and legal support. Find out about this year’s winner here and watch the rapid-fire event play-by-play.

II. KEYNOTES
Kat Taylor’s presentation was smart, raucous, and authentic, much like her big idea. Through the verticals of food, energy, and money, Kat Taylor and her husband are disrupting the investment industry. They started by taking management roles in companies and organizations in all three areas to glean insights. What they came up with, in addition to a variety of new ventures, is what they call “beneficial banking.” They sought to leverage the great promise of what was previously known as banking, but this time to do it differently. In her morning keynote, Kat Taylor described how.

Marc Freedman’s mid-day keynote encapsulated one of the core themes of the 2014 Summit: the massive potential in unleashing the skills of the boomer population for the social change sector. After searching the US for examples of people who weren’t satisfied with retirement and who had dedicated themselves to pressing social challenges, Freedman formed Encore.org. The organization supports people who are crafting careers later in life that combine not only continued income but the promise of more meaning – and the chance to do work that means something beyond oneself.

Victoria Hale delivered the final keynote of the day. A quintessential example of the power of social entrepreneurship, Hale created the world’s first nonprofit pharmaceutical company. She has set out over the last decade to develop new medicines, and also to address the traps of poverty with collaborations across sectors and around the world. Hear Hale grapple with current challenges, like marketing to the poor, past learnings, like focusing on a great solution rather than trying to address every single problem, and how she has found a way to build precious medicines that belong belong to humanity, not to patent owners.

III. PANEL DISCUSSIONS
The first discussion brought together three amazing women with in-depth experience dealing with impact capital. The panel explored impact funding and investments from three distinct angles. This panel included facilitator Carolynn Duncan (TenX, NW Social Venture Fund) and panelists Molly Lindquist (Consano), Melissa Freeman (Oregon Community Foundation), and Gun Denhart (Hanna Andersson).

The next panel continued along the theme Marc Freedman brought to the table in his keynote. The panelists looked at Encore Purpose, or the unique value that people in their “second half of life” bring to the world and to the field of social innovation. This panel included facilitator Erin Flynn (PSU Strategic Partnerships), and panelists Derenda Schubert (Bridge Meadows), Heather McHugh (Caregifted), and Marc Freedman (Encore.org).

The third panel in the series looked not at one specific demographic, but at the great potential of diverse communities. This discussion centered on empowering diverse communities through the lens of design thinking, international development, and inclusive innovation. The panel included facilitator Jennifer Allen (PSU Institute for Sustainable Solutions), and panelists Steve Lee (Ziba), Dwayne Johnson (Center for Inclusive Innovation), and Najia Hyder (Mercy Corps).

The final panel was not a panel. Behind every business, organization, or movement there a story that is as important as any new idea. The second Elevating Impact Summit removed the veil by challenging three changemakers to share their personal stories. They surpassed all expectations. This storytelling session featured Katrina Scotto Di Carlo (Supportland), Tim Carpenter (EngAGE), Deena Pierott (iUrbanTeen), and Pam Campos Palma (PSU)

Before they left for the day, attendees recapped their 2014 Summit in their own words:

Entry filed under: Design Thinking, Elevating Impact Summit, Events, Funding, Impact Investing, Social Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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