Speak to Me: How Does the Imagine Solutions Conference Find Renowned Global Thought Leaders Each Year?

It starts as soon as, or even sometimes before, each year’s Imagine Solutions Conference has ended: speaker selection for the following year. Bringing in approximately 20 nationally and internationally renowned experts is no small feat. How does it work? Read on for insights into Imagine Solutions’ speaker identification methodology.

On occasion, we will have been in talks with a potential speaker who, for any number of reasons, can’t make the year currently being planned work but who expresses an interest in participating in a subsequent conference. In those instances, we may start off the process already ahead of the game! A primary challenge is simply coordinating schedules with such busy and involved people. While our conference date remains the same each year—always the last Monday of February—our speakers frequently can’t say definitively even where they might be in a year’s time. Whether they are expeditioners or filmmakers, scientists or social entrepreneurs, their work often takes them to far-flung corners of the world. A lot of the time, it comes down to simple logistics.

Throughout the year, we work closely with our allies across the United States and even globally to identify topics of interest and subject matter experts who would be good candidates. We work hard to stay abreast of what’s going on in business, society, and technology, so we can deliver content that is timely to our equally informed audience. We have been fortunate in our 10-year history to forge collaborative relationships with other premier thought leader events, such as TED, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and Skoll World Forum. Partnerships such as these give us insights into what ideas are percolating around the world. Moreover, these friends are able to make invaluable introductions, leading to connections with entities such as NOVA, The Economist, RAND Corporation, National Geographic Society, Mayo Clinic, MIT, and Stanford, just to name a few.

As we start to get an early sense of speakers, we are also keeping in mind how individual sessions might group together, and how the entire day might be encapsulated under a single theme. The content at each Imagine Solutions Conference is intentionally varied, but we aim to apply coherence where we can, so that, for instance, the course of the day might feature grouped sessions on healthcare, or leadership, or education. And what is our overarching message? For 2020, we’re presenting to you our interpretation of ‘Visionary Viewpoints.’ Knowing that each person who graces our stage is undeniably a visionary, and there to share with you their unique and impactful viewpoint.

The ultimate objective, of course, is to cultivate a shared experience, lingering curiosity, and lasting impressions. If we’ve done our job well in bringing together each year’s panel of inspirational leaders, your only role is to absorb it all, consider what takeaways are personally meaningful for you, maybe tell a friend or two, and hopefully come back next year. If this sounds like a challenge you can accept, we hope to see you on February 24, 2020 for the 10th annual Imagine Solutions Conference in Naples, Florida.