Stories to change the world

At BIF, we believe storytelling can change the world. We act on that belief every year with our annual BIF Summit. Explore the archive of stories through which we've been inspired, learned together, and co-created the future narrative. 

'Design Empathy' Creates Well-Being In Workplaces

Office design expert A.J. Paron-Wildes is the National Architectural & Design Manager for Allsteel, a commercial furniture manufacturer. She has blended her skills as a designer and with her experience of raising a son with autism to create groundbreaking design work for individuals with autism.

Joining Paron-Wildes at BIF2017 will be her son, Devin Wildes, an accomplished artist who struggles with severe autism. Wildes works in multiple mediums, including sculpture, videography, jewelry making, screen printing, and painting in multiple mediums.

Empowering Congenital Heart Disease Patients To Lead Full, Productive Lives

Ami B. Bhatt, MD, FACC, is the Director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and an active clinical cardiologist, investigator, and educator. She graduated from Harvard College, obtained her doctoral degree from Yale School of Medicine, and trained at Massachusetts General Hospital, Children's Hospital of Boston, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in internal medicine, pediatrics, adult cardiology, and adult congenital heart disease (ACHD).

Dr. Bhatt’s team has transformed ACHD care at MGH's Corrigan Minehan Heart Center into an internationally renowned program. The program's multidisciplinary infrastructure includes heart failure, cardiac transplantation, electrophysiology, and structural heart and valve specialists, as well as obstetrics, maternal fetal medicine, genetics, and pediatrics. This multidisciplinary approach extends to social work, financial counselors, network development, and international patient care teams.

Dr. Bhatt has been recognized by the American College of Cardiology and by the American Heart Association for ACHD program-building and design. Her robust multidisciplinary curriculum at MGH providse formal congenital heart disease education to cardiovascular fellows from programs without an established CHD program.

Dr. Bhatt believes that individuals with complex diseases deserve collaborative care between tertiary centers and community caregivers. She innovates in telemedicine for ACHD patient visits, provider consultation, multimodality teleconferences, and adoption of mobile health technologies for caregivers and patients. Her interest in digital health strategy stems from her beliefs that state of the art, high quality, personalized care can be delivered to individuals in the community, and that concierge medicine is possible for everyone.

As Director of Outpatient Services for the MGH Cardiology Division, Dr. Bhatt works with patient and family advocates, administration and process improvement, and workflow design teams on enhancing the outpatient care delivery model. Her work centers on applying process improvement and systems design thinking to enhance multidisciplinary care and create transparent systems for coordinating and achieving patient-centered outcomes, alleviating physician burn-out and emphasizing that the two are not mutually exclusive. The MGH Healthcare Transformation Lab is home to her creative side, and allows her the space to innovate with partners from different professional disciplines.

Connecting Creatives And Innovators To Mentor Students

Yarrow Kraner is the Founder of HATCH. A social media innovator, he has been building global networks since 1999. Yarrow is also an Aspen Institute Fellow, is featured in the book Talent for Humanity and was named 2015 Top 100 creatives in the US by Origins Magazine.

As a director for Virgin Studios, Kraner helmed projects for Grammy-winning musicians The Rock, Richard Branson, and P Diddy. He is currently packaging a feature film, Wind in the Fire, on the remarkable story of Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to break the gender barrier to run the Boston Marathon, recently covered in The New York Times.

Kraner's HATCH is a global network, movement, and a series of experiences designed to catalyze creativity to HATCH a better world. It includes three annual HATCH Experience summits, the HATCH edu, series of workshops and design thinking labs in high schools and with universities, and the HATCH Labs series of salons and workshops that activate the HATCH Network to work on solutions for global challenges.

HATCH Network members Mark Brand, Philip Sheppard, and A.J. Paron-Wildes all join Kraner as BIF2017 storytellers.

In 2016 Yarrow founded H360, a technology platform to connect, manage, and empower private communities (alumni groups, corporate communications, and niche networks) through AI and machine learning to collaborate on projects aimed at improving humankind.

Breathing New Life Into Marginalized Communities

Social entrepreneur Mark Brand has successfully created 11 businesses in his home of Vancouver. His company MB Incorporated encompasses growth, sustainability, and fluidity in all its projects, undertakings, and partnerships. Brand and his teams at MB Incorporated breathe new life into marginalized and isolated communities through food, training, and meaningful employment. Brand challenges perspectives by constantly striving to improve the lives of others, while providing opportunities for growth and social change through emerging technologies, alternate currencies, and best practices.

Brand has been recruited to speak, mentor, and mediate on the topics of social inclusion, community collaboration, and food security everywhere from TED talks to correctional facilities. He brings the lens of community to government organizations, nonprofit boards, and business advisory committees. Through his social impact efforts and love for our neighborhoods, Brand proves that you can be successful in business while contributing to your community in a long-term, meaningful way.

Ensuring Deeper Learning For All Students

Marc Chun is a Program Officer in Education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. He manages a portfolio on deeper learning strategy, which aims to ensure that all students are prepared for careers and civic life post-graduation. In particular, he focuses on research grants, efforts to measure deeper learning competencies, and understanding how innovative teaching and learning tools spread within the educator community.

Facilitating Courageous Conversations On Race And Equity In Education

Courtlandt Butts is Equity Program Manager of Government/NGO Partnerships at the Pacific Educational Group, where he provides racial equity leadership consultation and training for municipalities, law enforcement, and K-12 professionals. Pacific Educational Group is a consulting firm that has had 25 years of experience facilitating courageous conversations around race and equity.

The group is committed to forging racial equity through sustained partnerships with educational organizations to transform beliefs, behaviors, and results, so people of all races can achieve at their highest levels and live their most empowered and powerful lives.

Butts holds a BS in Education from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and an MA in Educational Technology and Media from the University of Northern Iowa.

Using Design To Fight Inequality And End Racism

Antionette D. Carroll is the founder and President and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab (CRXLAB), which holds workshops and pursues projects that address areas affecting marginalized communities, including education, employment, and gun and domestic violence. The Lab's workshops bring together designers, policy experts, speakers, community partners, and citizens working in different fields.

Enabling Citizens To Co-Create The Future Of Their Communities

BIF’s Chief Market Maker, Eli MacLaren, brings extensive experience leading institutional change efforts. MacLaren served as the Executive Director of the public foundation, the Maine Women’s Fund, as well as Chief Program Officer at GlobalGiving, the first online philanthropic marketplace that enables donors to find and fund social entrepreneurs around the world.

Before GlobalGiving, MacLaren served as the International Director for Ashoka's Citizen Base Initiative, where she worked with social entrepreneurs from around the world on strategies to finance and scale their work. Most recently, MacLaren led the business model innovation process for Children’s Health — a $4 billion per year healthcare system in Dallas, TX.

Designing Healthcare Models That Enable Healthy, Productive Lives

BIF’s Patient Experience Lab Leader, Kat Esser, has worked in the health and healthcare field in a variety of capacities over the last 13 years. She has led next practices and care delivery model initiatives across private, public, and community healthcare sectors, both within large established healthcare institutions as well as community based healthcare organizations that serve our most vulnerable populations.

Esser received her Master of Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design, where she was an adjunct professor in the Department for Design and Architecture. She received a BA in Built Environment and Cultural Anthropology, first-of-its-kind joint degree from the School of Visual Arts and Lafayette College.

Designing Models That Support And Empower 21st Century Students

BIF’s Student Experience Lab Leader, Sam Seidel, speaks internationally about education innovation. Prior to his experience at BIF, Seidel served as Director of Partnerships for the Association for High School Innovation, a national network of leading education innovators.

Seidel is currently a Visiting Practitioner at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and has served as a Scholar-in-Residence at Columbia University Teachers College and a Community Fellow at the Rhode Island School of Design. He holds a BA in Education History and Policy from Brown University, where he also received a teaching credential.

Innovating NASA And Bringing Music To The Space Station

After 24 years and three trips to space, astronaut Cady Coleman left NASA in December 2016. During her time at NASA, she flew on two space shuttle missions and spent six months aboard the International Space Station.

Coleman spent a total of 180 days in space. During her time on the ground at NASA, she served in a variety of roles within the Astronaut Office, including chief of robotics, lead for tile repair efforts after the Columbia accident, and lead astronaut for integration of supply ships from NASA’s commercial partners, Space X, and Orbital ATK. Most recently, she led open-innovation and public-private partnership efforts for the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA headquarters.

Coleman, a retired colonel in the U.S. Air Force, earned a BS in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force, she worked as a research chemist at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base before being selected as an astronaut in 1992.

Innovating Air Travel With A Marketplace Model

Bill Herp is founder and CEO of Linear Air, which he initially conceived as an air charter business that would leverage a new class of low-cost "very light jets" (VLJs). Herp's goal was to create a more affordable alternative for regional private jet travel.

When the VLJ manufacturers failed, Herp was forced to re-invent his business. He re-launched Linear Air as the first "air taxi" marketplace, connecting small charter airplane operators throughout the US, Canada, and the Caribbean with regional travelers, providing travelers direct access to thousands of airports throughout North America.

In addition to leading the business side of Linear Air, Herp continues to feed his passion for flying as a professional pilot within the Linear Air marketplace. Herp is a serial entrepreneur who earlier founded digital marketing pioneer e-Dialog, as well as Event Cellular Communications. He received a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Harvard Business School.