2017 Lake Nona Impact Forum Sparks Talk of Innovation and Wellness Communities

An international community of innovators came together under one roof today at the official start of the 2017 Lake Nona Impact Forum.  In its fifth year, the event has become the annual destination for more than 250 top CEOs, health care innovators and thought leaders, creating a community of cooperation centered here in Lake Nona, but connecting innovators around the world.


The event, presented by Johnson & Johnson and hosted tonight at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine presented approaches to creating community and wellness centers that build opportunities for innovation, many of which influenced the founding of the Impact Forum and Lake Nona Medical City.


Frans Johansson’s The Medici Effect connected these ideas seamlessly by presenting a concept that inspired a reimagining of Lake Nona Medical City and countless innovative centers worldwide.  Innovators challenge rules and defy expectations, Johansson said, and by creating new convening centers with a diverse group of innovators, new connections, opportunities and innovations will follow.  “The notion that diversity delivers innovation,” he said of the Lake Nona Impact Forum and the vision of the community itself, “is at the heart of what is happening here.”


Creating a community or a business committed to wellness also requires these connections, but also design, access and a consideration of the needs of those involved.  But those commitments pay dividends, whether in the “Live for Life” employee lifestyle investments Johnson & Johnson executive Peter Fasolo discussed or in creating wellness communities like Nerio Alessandri, founder of Technogym and the creator of the Romagna Wellness Valley.  Thinking holistically, whether an individual’s or community’s fitness has lasting and widely felt effects, Alessandri says, as the “wellness economy is the evolution of the green economy.”


Personal stories can also spark conversation, policy shifts and changes in personal behavior, as evidenced by the story of mental health activist and former Canadian First Lady, Margaret Trudeau.  Her personal experiences with struggle and loss not only brought to light the very real effects and long-running stigmas surrounding mental health issues, but offered an example of resilience and hope.


In closing his talk, Frans Johansson said, “if you’re able to create the Medici Effect you’re able to create connections. You can speed up innovations.”  And while new concepts and innovations will be discussed this week and perhaps tested here in Lake Nona’s living lab, it’s the connections made at the Lake Nona Impact Forum, with innovators meeting and forging new relationships, that will forge the next phase of health and technology innovations.