Gil Bashe| The Innovator 25 North America 2022

Gil Bashe

Chair Global Health & Purpose
Finn Partners

New York

“Stay true to your mission to make a difference. If you center effort around that game-changing goal, you’ll constantly be renewed.”

Gil Bashe has long been a champion of using innovation to advance people and the planet, emerging as a leading proponent of technology that improves healthcare. Doing so is core to his role as Finn Partners’ chair of global health and purpose, though Bashe is keenly aware of the responsibility that comes with it. “If communications is part of the care and the cure, we have a great responsibility to ensure its accuracy,” he says. All of which is in keeping with his advocacy for “change that improves the human condition and makes information — often life-sustaining." In addition to his Finn role, Bashe is a prolific writer, active in organizations from tech companies to NGOs and peace activists.

How do you define innovation?
Change that improves the human condition and makes information – often life sustaining – more accessible.

What is the most innovative PR or marketing initiative you've seen over the past 12 months?
The rise of AI-assisted communication in patient diagnosis, engagement and participation in clinical trials for new medicines. But if communications is part of the care and cure, we have a great responsibility to ensure its accuracy.

In your opinion, which brands and/or agencies are most innovative in their approach to PR and marketing?
Apple and Microsoft.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
The decision to use meta analysis data – pre AI – to reveal that women had equal risk to men for heart disease. Augmented intelligence – not artificial – means synthesizing information/pattern recognition at incredible speeds. The premise started with an understanding that the message of medical risk needed to be validated. I lead the charge at the earliest stages.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Hands down Tom Lawry, formerly of Microsoft and head of AI. For disclosure,I have served as an "influencer" for Microsoft on AI. Also, John Nosta and Daniel Kraft, MD.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Reject the status quo and embrace risk.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Stay true to your purpose to make a difference. If you center effort around that game changing goal, you'll constantly be renewed.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I keep reinventing myself in this role. I feel my job is always evolving. As an opened-minded author, I will eventually dedicate more time to addressing issues others avoid.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
My child's (they/them) book of poetry for the disabled. A magnificent author reflecting on a rare disease, this short volume is shockingly real and beautiful. I learn from them every day.

How can the PR and communications industry harness innovation to make more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion?
Never accept or tolerate injustice. No excuses. Our colleagues and clients must embrace us as societal role models. Each day, we must look in the mirror and understand someone is always watching. We live in the era of porous communication.