Chicago Organizations Driving Innovation for Business and Social Good

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Surya Kant, TCS
© Mary Rafferty Photography


Digital Empowers Chicago
© Mary Rafferty Photography


Digital Empowers Chicago
© Mary Rafferty Photography


Digital Empowers Chicago
© Mary Rafferty Photography

Technology is an inseparable part of society. While the complexity, utility, and application of technology are ever evolving, the purpose of its development and discovery remains the same—to solve real-world problems, to fulfill human needs, and present new opportunities. To help enable the power of technology, innovative partnerships—where businesses can work with and leverage the assets of governments, NGOs, and civil society—are helping develop sustainable and scalable solutions that can create significant impact.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) recently partnered with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Technology Association, and HERE Technologies to bring this conversation to the city of Chicago for the third regional Digital Empowers: Accelerating Innovation for Business and Social Good Summit. The event was part of the larger Digital Empowers campaign developed in partnership by the U.S. Chamber Foundation and TCS, and brought together business leaders, technical experts, and government and community partners that are shaping the future of innovation and social impact. 

With over 200 participants, the Chicago forum featured companies like Whirlpool, United Airlines, Health Care Service Corporation, Salesforce, KPMG, and Crown Castle that shared how they are developing innovative solutions to foster greater accessibility, enhance customer experiences, increase mobility, and build more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems. Key highlights from the event include:

  • Surya Kant, President, North America, UK and Europe, TCS set the context for the day by highlighting the for the need for purpose to be integrated within business.
  • Matt Meier, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, North America, Whirlpool Corporation and Praveen Sharma, Vice President of Digital Products and Enterprise Analytics, United Airlines discussed the use of technology to personalize a customer experience. Even with the technology revolutions, people remain at the center of the innovation—whether it’s those creating it or experiencing it. Both senior executives spoke passionately about the need to invest in people, especially within those that are a part of our thriving workforce.
  • John Lausas, Assistant Corporate Controller, Navistar Inc.; Gary A. Silberg, Partner and Head of Automotive, Americas, KPMG LLP; and David Leopold, Director, City Solutions, City Tech Collaborative were featured speakers on a panel that explored the future of mobility, and the journey towards inclusive smart solutions. The panelists shared insights on technical devices and platforms that leverage data, new-wave technology, and expertise to solve real problems in a more effective, efficient, and economical way.
  • Marvin Richardson, Chief Information Officer, Health Care Service Corporation participated on a panel along with Julia Kanouse, CEO, Illinois Technology Association and Ryan Maguire, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Solstice that discussed the importance of combatting artificial intelligence through responsible leadership. Specifically, Marvin explored exponential outcomes of technology enabled solutions for the healthcare industry, but highlighted that such solutions should focus on the well-being of all and not just a few.

The event helped increase the understanding of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, virtual simulations, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain, as well as bring greater awareness to how organizations of all sizes are leveraging their capabilities to reshape entire industries and compound social impact within communities around the world. The event also explored how the private, public, and nonprofit sectors are using technology to address a number of issues around skills for the future, health and wellness, accessibility, inclusion, mobility, digital citizenship, and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As Richardson said in an interview following the event, “You know, we’re not bystanders here. We are part of this community. And I don’t see how you cannot want to participate in making your community a better place.”

As part of the Digital Empowers campaign, the U.S. Chamber Foundation and TCS have launched the Digital Empowers Awards to honor partnerships and innovations that harness technology to make a positive social impact. Learn more about how to apply here.

The recent regional forum was an opportunity to hear how organizations in Chicago are helping solve critical issues through innovation-driven designs, products, partnerships, and technologies. Though, the Digital Empowers campaign goes beyond Chicago. The Digital Empowers campaign showcases the innovative ways organizations are leveraging technology to drive social impact through case studies, blog content, and more. If your organization has a story to tell, we’d love to hear about it. Contact Alexa Miller to discuss communication opportunities.

For more information on insights, future events and what’s coming up, please visit us at