The Experience

We know that there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to changework. So, when you get to Upswell, you’ll have the opportunity to design the kind of experience that you want to have.

Dive deep and learn. Share your big ideas and get help with your toughest challenges. Meet new people, sharpen your skills, roll up your sleeves and experiment. Lift your spirits with high-energy performances or totally unplug to refocus your mind in quiet contemplation. You can do any of these things or all of them…and so much more!

At the Core


Main Stage

High-impact, high-profile speakers will expand your mind and fill your soul for the tasks ahead.



Learn new skills, dive deep into social issues, and lend your ideas to outcome-oriented brainstorming.

In the Public Square

Think of the Public Square as you might think of a town center or big city. Like busy streets and bustling plazas, the Hilton’s open spaces will be filled with activity, energy, and opportunity. At any given moment, you’ll have tons of choices about what to do and who to meet next.


Focus Groups

Energetic small-group, issue-focused exchanges about challenges, lessons learned, and new solutions.


Spark Talks

Quick presentations in the Public Square about bold new ideas, breaking research, and emerging trends.


Reflection Activities

From meditation to mindfulness to motivation, connect with your inner life by refreshing your mind and spirit.


Science and Tech

Hands-on demonstrations of science and technology innovations that are revolutionizing the future of changework.



Specialized services, consulting, and products created to help you enhance your changework.



Visual art, musical experiences, poetry, theater, and more – Chicago’s creativity will be a defining feature of the summit.


Immersive Arcade

Through extended reality, you’ll experience some of our world’s biggest challenges firsthand. Or at least your brain will think so.


Spotlight Stage

Interactive demonstrations, dynamic performances, spirited debates – all in the center of the Public Square.


Turn the Curve

Using data and diversity of experience, rapidly prototype a solution to a common challenge.

Around the City

For changework, local context is essential. To see how all of the pieces fit together to create lasting change, you’re invited to immerse yourself in Chicago’s vibrant communities.


Chicago Inside & Out

These half-day tours take you on a journey of social innovation into the heart of the Chicago’s most dynamic neighborhoods, where you’ll have the chance to participate like a local rather than just observe as an outsider.


Community Dinners

Get outside the hotel and into Chicago’s communities to experience firsthand how food and mission can go together. Sit down with strangers, go home with new friends, ideas – and maybe even a solution or two.