a week full of discovery and inspiration at SXSW

Every year in March over 300,000 experts from over 100 countries, working in the interactive, music and movie industry, gather at the South By Southwest Event in Austin, Texas to network, be inspired and stay up to date on the latest developments.

There is so much available at SXSW that every attendee has their own unique experience and personal highlights form the many sessions and coincidental meetings in the five intense days this event covers. We want to share our personal four insights after a week full of discovery and inspiration.

virtual, augmented and mixed reality are not just for the serious gamer

Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality add new dimensions to the experience and the view of the changing world around us. At SXSW we have seen some impressive, but moreover practical examples that will become part of our everyday life. We’ve seen examples within the obvious territory of entertainment and gaming, but also within shopping, health care and the workplace. We found the example of accessing ‘difficult’ target audiences to enhance their chances in the labor market particularly inspiring. We saw new ways of discovering, playing, shopping and working.

brands connect at a DNA level

There is nothing more personal than DNA. In times where we deal somewhat (over)-cautious with our personal data we should focus on what it can bring us. Our DNA tells a lot about how our mind and body work. It can help us perform better and live a healthier life. At SXSW we met with several companies that offer DNA based services to evaluate your fitness potential, provide nutritional advice or identify your super powers. One of the most impressive initiatives was Sushi Singularity. This restaurant requires a reservation to be made a few weeks ahead, which includes sending DNA and a stool sample. Based on this the restaurant serves custom sushi printed with the ingredients and raw vitamins your body needs. Developments that combine science and nutrition make for an interesting future.

really prioritize creativity and end users.

  • 66% of all companies does not test prototypes with end users
  • 50% of all companies does not involve clients prior to the launch of a new product
  • 95% of all industry leaders can’t make objective business decisions on design

Challenging the status quo is a naturally born quality of designers and creatives. If you have people in your organization that can break through fixed patterns, can get to the question behind the question, can activate clients and coworkers and can link people and matters that at first sight might seem illogical, connect at an emotional level, then you get surprising solutions, new products and services. It doesn’t matter if you can make pretty things, it matters if you can make solutions that actually work and set themselves apart from commodity solutions. Creativity is not just for designers but should be embedded in the entire organization. Creating a mindset and a context that enables creativity is often the recipe to success. 

McKinsey already noticed that organizations that take design and clients seriously perform better in their industry, distinguish themselves from their competition and outperform their competitors. Companies that want to become or remain successful should want to place a creative in the boardroom.

science fiction blueprint for innovation

An important theme with innovation is faith in possibilities. The immensely popular series Star Trek features a computer that always answers quickly and adequately. Crazy right?! Or is it? But now there’s Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Science fiction is a source of inspiration for developers and inventors. Things that were deemed impossible and featured in Back to the Future and Minority report are now part of our daily lives. With the exception of time travel. But for how long? In any case voice computing will drastically change the way we use the internet. Why? Voice computing only finds the perfect answer to a questions. The other answers appear to be irrelevant. When you want to become or remain visible as an organization your website must be optimized for voice search.

Thanks Austin for a great South by Southwest , see you next year!