Independence Blue Cross Center for Innovation: Dinner at Our Place


Independence Blue Cross

Project Summary:

Connect the Dots supported Independence Blue Cross on a major first step in their mission to support and plug into the Philadelphia ecosystem of innovation by hosting a warm and welcoming “Dinner at our Place” on February 5th, 2020. The event’s intention was to understand how Independence Blue Cross (IBX) – specifically its Center for Innovation – could collaborate with other innovation stakeholders in order to best support and connect with the existing community.


To do this, Connect the Dots and IBX invited innovation veterans and stakeholders across sectors and industries in the region to a collaborative dinner-workshop event. Thirty-plus representatives spanned ages, gender identities, nationalities, ethnicities and levels of seniority. Organizations represented included higher education, startup incubators, private sector consultants, nonprofits, healthcare entities and more: a group curated primarily through research, previous connections, and crowdsourced recommendations. The intent was to bring together a cross-section of the sector, recognizing that there were many more stakeholders to connect with moving forward. Seating was assigned across six tables to ensure a diversity in thought, industry and functional area of expertise.
Key to Connect the Dots approach was engaging attendees beforehand to gather initial insights and ideas to enable a collaborative rather than top-down approach. Interestingly, what came out was a strong need and interest in exploring ways for players in the ecosystem to collaborate more – which was seen as a key means to strengthening the sector as a whole. Connect the Dots then structured the conversation and event flow based on pre-event survey attendee input around what would make the dinner and dialogue most valuable.


  • The Connect the Dots facilitated the evening dinner-workshop to ensure a productive and unbiased convening of minds.
  • The night’s activities followed a multi-course meal approach, starting with snacks and mingling and moving towards formalized group activities which sought to dive into current challenges to see where opportunities lay in the minds of those involved in the innovation space.
  • The evening closed with dessert amongst relationships new and old, and reflecting on hopes and concerns moving forward
  • Connect the Dots then analyzed the insights and dialogues from the event in order to create a report with actionable recommendations for IBX and the community as a whole regarding next steps to bring the innovation ecosystem to the next level.