Aspen Ideas Festival Shines A Spotlight On Health | KERA News

Aspen Ideas Festival Shines A Spotlight On Health

Jun 20, 2014

This week, at the Aspen Ideas Festival the focus is on health. From robotics to the future of healthcare and Hollywood’s power to improve health, experts from across the world are talking big ideas in the mountains of Colorado. KERA will be there, and we have this preview of the festival. 

What is the Aspen Ideas Festival? 

The Ideas Festival is a gathering of big thinkers – everyone from Bill Gates to Bill Clinton to Karl Rove and Toni Morrison…that’s been going on for ten years now. The goal is to bring together a wide variety of both domestic and global leaders to share research, lessons learned and new ideas. This year is the biggest yet – with close to 475 speakers across ten days.

Why dedicate four full days to talk health?

After last year’s Ideas Festival, the Aspen Institute decided it was time to home in on one subject for their tenth anniversary. Of course they had plenty of options, from technology, to design, education, and economics – so I asked the Aspen Institute’s Brita Stevenson why they chose health.

“Because it is the one topic that touches every single one of us, every day of our lives basically, and across the world. It affects all of us and it’s always been a topic that our attendees have flocked to,” Stevenson says.

Spotlight Health Breakdown

There are actually four sort of sub-topics in “Spotlight Health:”

  1. The Business of Health
  2. Living Longer, Living Better
  3. Innovations in Health
  4. Health by Design

What’s the point?

Yes, it’s a group of  powerful people tossing around big ideas in the mountains of Colorado…but this isn’t just about hobnobbing, at least not entirely. The hope, says Brita Stevenson, is that you bring together politicians, entrepreneurs and researchers and their ideas and actions have a ripple effect.

“[For example] three months from now a partnership develops between two of our speakers who hadn’t met before and they create a new initiative as a result of what some idea that came up at Ideas Fest,” she says. “We’re just now starting to monitor what happens as a result of these conversations.”