The GIC Returns to SXSW With New Activations, Panel Discussions [Watch] 


[View the GIC's SXSW 2023 Recap Video for Highlights, Insights, and More]

The VSP Global Innovation Center (GIC) traveled to Austin for SXSW 2023, one of the world's largest technology and innovation conferences, to host and participate in a variety of activations and panels highlighting VSP Vision's commitment to vision innovation and to showcase recent GIC-led work and initiatives.

The GIC kicked off its presence at the conference with a panel discussion at the Female Quotient Equality Lounge, which hosted various discussions focused on fostering equality. Ruth Yomtoubian, head of the GIC, participated in the A Better Framework for Measuring ESG Impact panel, alongside panelists from Good-Loop, R3 Score Technologies, and Clever Carbon, to discuss Environmental Social Governance (ESG) strategies, winning technology, and plans for execution.

Additionally, the GIC hosted an official SXSW panel session, Scaling Access: Innovations in Healthcare Deserts, which was moderated by Yomtoubian and featured panelists from PlenOptika, GoodRX, and OnMed, which were highlighted in the GIC's latest Futurist Report, The Future of Healthcare Desert Solutions.

The panel discussion examined the various trends and issues surrounding healthcare deserts and how the people who live in them receive care.

"The pandemic helped bring new solutions forward and created an opportunity to address care in health deserts," Yomtoubian said during the session. "As adoption and development of new approaches accelerates, we're starting to see the future of care for areas that for too long have lacked access."

Throughout the week, SXSW attendees engaged with the GIC team at its booth, which featured:

  • Walk-throughs of the VSP & You digital experience, an interactive quiz offering personalized recommendations regarding the user's eye health.
  • The Collaborator Corner, a space for curated product demos from top eye care and healthcare startups that are innovating in and around one of the GIC's 3 focus areas - health access, patient experience, and sustainability. The featured startups included:
    • Insight Optics, an Atlanta-based creator of the OptoView System, which allows primary care physicians to record and forward eye exams to local ophthalmologists for review using a mobile imaging network.
    • Nanodropper, Rochester, MN-based creator of a universal adapter that attaches to existing eyedrop bottles to reduce the size of the droplet.
    • Pear Suite, Seattle-based creator of a SaaS platform that enables organizations to assess and address an individual's social drivers of health.
    • PlenOptika, Cambridge, MA-based creator of QuickSee, a handheld autorefractor (a tool that determines an individual's vision prescription).
    • Voigtmann, Austin-based creator of a mass screening platform for autonomous and automated diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy and other retina-related problems.

The GIC also partnered with BusinessOutside to host a connection hike at Lady Bird Lake Trail, which brought together healthcare and eye care entrepreneurs, professionals, and leaders along with VSP partners and clients, for a facilitated 3-mile walk, discussion, and networking opportunity. 

SXSW offers an unparalleled opportunity to engage with the new concepts and companies shaping our industry and future, said M. Cole Jones, senior ecosystem principle at the GIC. With the GIC as the front door to emerging technologies and startups for VSP, SXSW is the ideal sandbox to catalyze new relationships with leading innovators and showcase our work and model.

To listen to the full audio recording of the GIC's Scaling Access panel discussion at SXSW, click here. And to check out our recap of VSP/GIC's presence at SXSW, view the 3-minute highlight video here.

For more vision innovation news and updates, check out the Global Innovation Center's LinkedIn page.