We began the iF Salon in 2017. Inspired by our clients and partners, and fueled by our own participation in Jeffersonian dinners and memorable evenings at TED, we wanted to invite smart people around a table to talk about one thing over dinner. The purpose of iF Salons is to provoke deeper conversations than our busy schedules allow. We choose a topic that relates in some way to our current work and brings with it thorny and unsolved questions. 

Here’s a brief recap of each of our past Salon dinners:

The Fight for Truth. We brought together politicians, people from the media, and tech entrepreneurs to explore the ramifications of technology that can mimic people’s faces and voices. During our lively discussion, we considered what this might mean for the future of information dissemination, and mused about who will hold messaging power in the future. Attendees came from the State of Washington, Intellectual Ventures, and Dreambox Learning, among others.

The Future of Food. Farmers, agriculture experts, and technologists discussed alternative proteins, modern agriculture, and the food system. We wondered what it would take to move the masses away from resource-intensive meats, and discussed the global impact of crop losses. Attendees included leaders at the Global Child Nutrition Foundation, Full Circle Farms, the WSU Bread Lab, BMGI, and EarthLab. Read the recap of our conversation here.

Game Changers. We invited game designers, educators, and professional players to work through whether playing games can create lasting social and behavior change. We discussed the challenge of social game design and the promise of democratization of tools. An enthusiastic group of people connected with each other that night, representing companies like ThinkFun, Forrest-Pruzan, Gencon, Microsoft, Ravensburger, Blue Canoe, and Wizards of the coast. Here’s the recap of that conversation.

Always/Never Alone. Experiential designers, writers, and artists considered the elements that are necessary to draw Millennial and GenZ audiences out of their homes and into real-life experiences. How should event designers adjust their spaces for an increasingly socially isolated group that craves meaningful moments? We debated the merits and perils of connection in both online and offline spaces. Attendees came from True Brands, Vera Project, RoundGlass, Starbucks and Reality Break Escapes. Read about that evening here.

United States of Philanthropy. We considered how consumer and foundation charitable giving is filling the gap for what has traditionally been the responsibility of local, state, and the federal government. A spirited debate took place around this table, with more conversations to follow. Participants came from the Group Health Foundation, UW Evans School, Gates Foundation, Seattle Foundation, New Beginnings, and the Clean Energy Transition.

Strategy Sabotage. We discussed how to develop strategies to be more inclusive so that employees and partners become champions of the vision. Our far-reaching conversation covered the role of boards and company culture, mission statements, and the willingness to fail. Participants included leaders from Sellen Construction, KUOW, Microsoft, Carlyle Group, and the Gates Foundation. We held that Salon in both Seattle and San Francisco.

Our mission for the iF Salon series is to foster meaningful connections with each other that extend beyond one evening. We hope to see you at one soon.