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Building Health+Wealth in America

Techonomy aims always to live up to our name, with its integration of technology and the economy. It’s a challenge we relish. Now, in this bizarre age of pandemic and division we are turning our attention to an initiative we’re calling The Health+Wealth of America. It’s more domestic, and even maybe a little less techy than some of our efforts, but we believe now is the time to take an urgent and holistic look at where the country is headed. We think of both “health” and “wealth” in a broad sense­–what will make the nation and its people healthier, and: what should we mean by “wealth” in an age cursed by deep inequality? We’ll examine not just how we emerge from the pandemic and the future of healthcare, but entrepreneurship, how to grow the economy, tackling racial, social and economic disparities, and of course the election and the political health of our society.

We start on our journey with a discussion this Friday at 1pm Eastern. We want our community to help us weigh and prioritize issues we should tackle. To strategize with us that afternoon we’ll hear longtime technologist Esther Dyson, who now oversees Wellville, a breakthrough effort to improve population health in small cities; veteran journalist and expert on corporate social engagement Matthew Bishop; Valarie McCall, a top deputy to Mayor Frank Jackson of Cleveland; and Ritesh Patel, chief digital officer at Ogilvy, who has deep knowledge of healthcare. And we want to hear from you.

The larger initiative kicks off with a three afternoon virtual conference October 13-15, continues with weekly sessions through the end of November, and then we host another three-afternoon series December 1-3, after the election (we hope). Techonomy is developing the program with our colleagues at CDX, our digital transformation series, as well as Worth, which is, like us, part of Clarim Holdings. Worth has deep expertise not only on the economy and markets, but also equality and women’s empowerment. (It is this week hosting its own Women and Worth virtual summit.)

Nothing is off the table if it pertains to the health+wealth of our great country. (Yes it is great.) But that means looking at the urgent disaster of climate destruction, understanding where education needs to go, how to build robust infrastructure, promoting more and better entrepreneurship, fostering cross-cultural understanding, and every way of improving healthcare and the quality of life. And while at Techonomy we’ve always obsessed about how evolving technology could help us address these things more effectively, now we also have to overlay another central issue—how has the pandemic changed the way we will all live and act?

We’ve got great thinkers already confirmed for the October dates—we’ll open with Dr. Zeke Emanuel of UPenn, one of the biggest experts on how to tackle COVID, and also one of the architects of Obamacare. We’ll hear from Jutta Steiner, CEO of Parity Technologies, which aims to use the blockchain to fundamentally rearchitect the internet.

Tuesday opens with Lawrence H. Summers, former Treasury Secretary, interviewed by longtime banker Bob Diamond. Later that day comes Steve Case, eminent founder of AOL and now investor and expert on innovation and entrepreneurship as it extends across the entire country. Then to politics combined with finance, with investor and (briefly) communications aide to President Trump, Anthony Scaramucci. He is now a scathing critic, and a great interview.

Thursday we’ll hear the CTOs of two of America’s greatest companies–Bank of America and Ford. Cathy Bessant is also chief operations officer at BofA, and regularly ranked the most influential woman in American banking (until the new CEO takes over at Citi, presumably). Ken Washington, a veteran techonomist, is Ford’s resident expert in AI. He will update us on progress towards an autonomous and electrified national transportation ecosystem.

Other speakers include Elliot Portnoy, CEO of Dentons, one of the world’s largest law firms; diversity and inclusion leader Lisa Kenney of Reimagine Gender; inspirational educator Dr. Quentin Lee of Childersburg High School in Alabama; Fadi Chehade, former CEO of ICANN who managed its extraction from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, now running Ethos Capital, a private equity firm that promises to do things right; and Zainab Salbi, an inspiring speaker, author, and longtime leader of Women to Women International.

Techonomy, CDX and Worth have a lot of other great plans in the works that we’ll announce in coming days. And it will be influenced by your thinking if you join us Friday. Lord knows America needs more health and wealth, and needs it spread out more equitably.

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