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Visionary Ideas

Engaging Dialogue

Tough Questions

All for the Greater Good


Day One



Thursday, February 6th


12-1pm        Registration

1pm             Welcome

     Merit Janow, Dean, Columbia School of International & Public Affairs 

1:15-3:15pm     Case Studies on the Economic Future 

                          I:  The Future of Agriculture

     Tom Vilsack, former USDA Secretary, CEO of the US Dairy Export Council.

     Sara Menker, Founder & CEO, Gro-Intelligence

     Moderator: Tracy Sefl, nationally recognized communications specialist with particular expertise in elite

     media and issue advocacy.

     II:  The Future of Manufacturing

     Malcolm Frank, President, Cognizant Digital Business, co-author What To Do When Machines Do


     Jim Davis, Vice Provost for IT at UCLA, co-founder Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, 

     leader of US DOE’s Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute.


     Moderator: James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic, co-author of Our Towns: A 100,000

     Mile Journey into the Heart of America. 

                          III:  The Future of Health Care

     Andre Goy, M.D., M.S., an internationally renowned clinician and researcher of all types of

     lymphoma, has been co-chair of the Global Council on the Future of Health and Healthcare for the

     World Economic Forum since 2015. 

     Mario Schlosser, CEO and co-founder of Oscar, a health-insurance start-up that is using technology,           design, and data to help humanize and simplify healthcare. Previously, he co-founded the largest social

     gaming company in Latin America, where he led the company’s analytics and game design practices.

     Dr. Linda Rhodes, former Pennsylvania Cabinet Secretary and author of a 200-page report

     for 1199SEIU on "Technology's Impact on Health Care Jobs."

     Moderator: Tracy Sefl, nationally recognized communications specialist with particular expertise in elite

     media and issue advocacy.

3:15-3:30pm     Break

3:30-4:45pm     Report from America:  The "Hackathons"

     In the run-up to this year’s conference, we asked Americans across the country to participate in “policy 

     hackathons” to devise their own solutions to the economic challenges facing our country.  Attendees

     from each of these events will report the recommendations and look for common themes in how our

     country views the future – and the needed policies.  We’ll also have video highlights of these events.

     Andrew Rich, Dean, Colin Powell Center, City College of  New York.

     Dave Baiocchi, Professor of Public Policy, Pardee RAND Graduate School of Public Policy, Los Angeles,


     Brad Best, Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake,


     Seth Andersen, John C. Culver Public Policy Center at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa.

     Amber McNamara, Cedar Rapids Public Library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

     Moderator: James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic, co-author of Our Towns: A 100,000

     Mile Journey into the Heart of America.

4:45-5:30pm     The Coming Storm


     George Friedman, geopolitical forecaster and strategist, founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures,

     author of the forthcoming, The Storm Before the Calm: America's Discord, the Coming Crisis of the

     2020s, and the Triumph Beyond.

5:30-6:30pm     Reception




Friday, February 7th

8-9am           Registration | Breakfast Rolls, Bagels, Tea, Coffee & Juice

9-10:15am    Community Engagement, Personal Data and Smart City Solutions for the Urban

                      Street Scape

     Barbara Askins, President & CEO of the 125th Street Business Improvement District in Upper Manhattan      (Harlem), New York City, public involvement specialist on transportation, environmental and facility     

     planning projects in several cities that included reconstruction of highways and city streets, upgrading

     rail and bus systems, improving sewage-treatment facilities, creative public spaces, and sports and

     conventions center.


     Robin Chase, co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, co-founder of Veniam, author of Peers Inc: How

     People and Platforms are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism.


     Wendy Ju, Assistant Professor, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and in the

     Information Science field at Cornell University, former Executive Director of Interaction Design Research

     at Stanford University, working in human-robot interaction and automated vehicle interfaces.


     Andrew Rasiej, civic and social entrepreneur, technology strategist, and Founder of Civic Hall, a

     collaborative work center, and event space currently located in the Flatiron district of Manhattan

     supporting a growing community of people and organizations building technology solutions for the

     public good.

     Moderator:  Ester Fuchs, Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science, Columbia University School of

     International and Public Affairs

10:15-11:15am       New Industries & Opportunities:  The Case for Techno-optimism

     Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT professor and Director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, co-author of

     several books including Machine Platform Crowd: Harnessing our Digital Future and NYTimes best-

     seller The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.

     Brian Selander, President & COO, Ownable; former executive VP, Whistle Sports Network, Fast

     Company's #3 Most Innovative Company in the World in Video (Disney was #2).

     Christopher Sealey, President and Co-Founder, CoverUS mobile healthcare-data app, and founding  

     general partner, Chain Link crypto asset hedge fund.

     Vijay Modi, Columbia University Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Director, Infrastructure Programs,

     UN Millennium Villages Project, developed “SharedSolar,” the first smartly managed pay-as-you-go solar

     minigrid project in Africa.

     Moderator: Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor for National Review, columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a

     visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


11:15am-12:30pm    Data and Disruption

     Soroush Abbaspour, Program Director, Blockchain for Healthcare at IBM; director, Columbia-IBM Center

     for Blockchain & Data Transparency.

     Dr. Laura DeNardis, Professor and Interim Dean of the School of Communication at American

     University, author of six books including the just-released The Internet in Everything: Freedom and

     Security in a World with No Off Switch.

     Kalev Leetaru, one of Foreign Policy Magazine's Top 100 Global Thinkers, Google Developer Expert for

     Google Cloud Platform, Media Fellow at the RealClearFoundation and Senior Fellow at the George

     Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security.

     Eric Horvitz, Director of Microsoft Research.

     Moderator:  David Rotman, Editor at large, MIT Technology Review.

12:30-1:15pm  Lunch Buffet

1:15-2:30pm    The Future of Work and Workers

     Amy Dean, Fellow at The Century Foundation, labor activist, social entrepreneur, and co-author of

     A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement.

     Angela Jackson, head of Future of Work Initiative at New Profit, Inc.

     Lynn Barendsen, Project Director, the Good Project, Harvard Graduate School of Education.


     Steven Greenhouse, labor and workplace writer for the New York Times and The American

     Prospect, Author, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor.

2:30-2:45pm     Break

2:45-4pm   A Completely New Kind of Economy?

     Robin Chase, co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, co-founder of Veniam, author of Peers Inc: How

     People and Platforms are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism.

     Marina Gorbis, executive director of Silicon Valley's Institute for the Future, author of The Nature of the

     Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World.

     Barry C. Lynn, Director, Open Markets Institute; author, Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and

     the Economics of Destruction.

     Moderator: Rob Pegoraro, Contributing Writer to USA Today, Yahoo Finance, Wirecutter, Fast Company

     and others.


4-5pm  Solutions:  Student Social Entrepreneurs


     A concluding panel with a leading social venture pioneer and a half-dozen student social entrepreneurs

     from Columbia University launching innovative solutions to the challenges facing the world.  Always a hit

     at the Greater Good Gathering.  This year's featured social entrepreneur:


     Kyle Zimmer, President, CEO, and Co-founder of First Book, a family of social enterprises addressing a

     spectrum of educational barriers faced by children in need. Kyle pioneered the organization’s

     sustainable, market-driven ecommerce model that provides educators with free and affordable, high-

     quality new books, educational resources, and basic needs items.  She serves on the boards of Dr. Seuss

     Enterprises, Ashoka, and Youth Venture and has been featured at the Clinton Global Initiative, World

     Economic Forum, University of Oxford and is a regular lecturer at the Wharton School of Business and

     Columbia Business School.  She was named Nonprofit Marketer of the Year and Outstanding Social

     Entrepreneur of the Year, and one of Fast Company’s 45 Social Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the

     World, among numerous awards for public service. 

     Student Social Entrepreneurs:

     Pranav Ramkumar:  Ciclico, which makes technology allowing developers, investors

     and policymakers to browse heat islands on a visual interface and determine if green infrastructure

     intended at mitigating urban heat are having their intended effect.

     Dustin Martelo: Alley Spot leverages data analytics, autonomous vehicles, and parking solution providers

     to create a more efficient urban traffic flow in an era of on-demand rides that contribute to congestion,

     wasteful consumption of energy, and deterioration of roads and municipal infrastructures.


     William McMillan Plews-Ogan: Offset is is a mobile app that allows daily individual users to donate a

     small sum to be invested in user-selected portfolios of carbon scrubbing companies and consumer

     products that are produced with net-zero emissions.  


     Edi Saputra: VocatiNest is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based online job platform that provides end-to-

     end services to empower 5 million Indonesian vocational students and 1.7 million graduates annually to

     consolidate their competencies or take necessary actions to improve themselves to get fit in targeted


     Shanna CrumleyBitae Technologies is a technology platform for refugees and other vulnerable

     populations to carry their skills and experiences with them in a secure, verified portfolio — essentially a

     “digital CV” for the 21st century.

     Allison Rogg:  Students like Allison in Columbia's Design for Social Innovation course are assisting the

     Harlem Children's Zone to apply design thinking to social innovation.

     Moderator: Eric Schnurer, President, Public Works LLC, founder of the Greater Good Initiative.


Day Two