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Why the Social Good Summit Is Important for Global Change

September 18, 2013

The Gates Foundation is pleased to be a partner again in this year's Social Good Summit. The event starting Sunday in New York is a global event uniting people all over the world around a single theme, #2030Now. We’ll be asking the question--what are the technology innovations, programs, policies and partnerships that will lay the groundwork for the world we want to see in 2030?  And how can we work together to use the power of innovation and technology to solve some of our world’s most pressing global issues?

 I hope you find a way to participate, whether by attending the event in New York, watching via live stream, joining a meet-up, or participating in the conversation on Twitter or Weibo.

I’ve attended the Summit the past two years, first in New York then in Beijing, and watched it evolve as a powerful community able to trigger innovative thinking and build collaboration.

There are several characteristics that stand out for me about the Summit community and that make it a unique and increasingly important driver for global change.

-          The Summit is all about “constructive disruption” -- opening up the doors of traditional, closed-door decision processes to a global audience. Bringing together new media voices and social entrepreneurs with the most influential advocates on international policy and development, the event provides a powerful and unique opportunity to openly discuss solutions to our biggest challenges.

-          It’s a marketplace of ideas where elite decision makers come to listen. This year the Social Good Summit has introduced “keynote listeners” – a group of global leaders from business, government and philanthropy, including Melinda Gates, Dr. Jim Yom Kim and Richard Branson, who have committed to listening to the ideas and experiences of innovators, influencers and citizens participating in the summit, and then sharing what they’ve learned on the main stage and on social media. Whereas most conferences and events focus on talking, this is a place that global leaders come to listen and learn.

-          The Social Good Summit is focused on building global conversations on long-term challenges–challenges that can’t be solved overnight or over the course of a few days. While events are powerful forces for triggering conversation, it’s important that these conversations sustain and turn into real action. This year we launched the +SocialGood network, an online platform that provides the Social Good Summit community a structured place to convene and turn ideas into action. It’s easy to talk about big ideas during the event, but the power of the global conversation, activating innovators and connecting people with the work on the ground is making sure that these conversations sustain over time. 

-          It’s a space for collective learning. Participants will be joining in-person in New York, via social media channels, on live broadcast, and through hundreds of Social Good meet up events organized around the world. We’ll be discussing what’s working and what’s not, with the goal of spurring innovative thinking on some of our toughest issues. 

I hope you find a way to participate, whether by attending the event in New York, watching via live stream, joining a meet-up, or participating in the conversation on Twitter or Weibo--we want to hear your voice in the conversation.

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