Did you know that Goldie Hawn, David Blaine, and Martha Stewart are coming to San Diego at the end of October to discuss…healthcare? Probably not, maybe because the exclusive TEDMED2009 conference is $4,000 to attend, and already sold out. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and its conferences aim to bring together people from different backgrounds to stimulate innovation. The TEDMED conference is independent from TED, but appears similar in style.
BIL conferences piggy back on TED conferences, offering a more informal, affordable, ‘grass roots’ option. BIL is not an ‘official’ acronym, and was honestly chosen based on the ’80s movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Perhaps to signify the BIL conferences’ universal appeal and inclusiveness, different words beginning with B, I, and L appear each time you visit their websites (for example ‘Beauty, Inspiration, Logic.’). BIL conferences have been described as ‘(providing) an irreverent counterbalance to the wide-eyed earnestness of TED.’ The BIL conferences are organized as so-called ‘unconferences’ which are free and attendee-driven, and BIL:PIL is the healthcare ‘flavor.’ A few of the BIL:PIL speakers are invited, and others submit their talks to be voted on. Like TEDMED, it will bring together visionaries from different fields and disciplines, including scientists, patient advocates, and leaders, to discuss healthcare. Indeed, some TED speakers have been known to leave its posh settings to have fun with the BIL attendees, which in this case would mean a trek from the Hotel Del Coronado to San Diego State University’s BioScience Center.
If the BIL:PIL conference is free, does that mean the speakers will be less qualified? Not really. What BIL:PIL lacks in hype, it makes up in the passion of its organizers, who champion the event. I met BIL:PIL founder Jonathan Sheffi, formerly of Amgen and currently attending Harvard Business School, in Washington DC, and he described his vision for the conference. What follows is Sheffi’s ‘pitch’ for the conference.
“Healthcare innovation is too important a topic to be left to a select few. Through the unconference model, we’re inviting all healthcare pioneers to share their work with the world. Whether it’s the latest innovation in stem cells, a new way for patients to find each other online, or a revolution in open science — the world is waiting to hear from you. More importantly, San Diego’s great promise as a world leader in healthcare makes it the ideal host for this event.”
Sheffi has been successful in securing many thought leaders in the so-called healthcare 2.0 movement, which aims to use tenets of new and social media to revolutionize the industry. Speakers range from those using lessons from Harvard Business School to lower healthcare costs, to virtual reality software, to online communities for patients. One of the headliners is Joe Trippi, well known … Next Page »
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