SXSW Innovation: the weird & wonderful


SXSW (1)

Twitter, Foursquare and Meerkat exploded into the digital universe at SXSW. That’s because for one week in Austin in March, the good, bad and the ugly of the digital industries take leave of their day jobs. They eat BBQ and drink craft beer, but most importantly, stop and think about what’s happening next.

I’ve been going through the proposed talks on Innovation on the PanelPicker website. If you search for “innovation” in the list of entries you get 1,118 results. And some of them sound a bit weird..

“Superman vs. Batman, and Innovation’s Power” Holy disruption Batman!

“Innovation Foreplay, Prime Your Brand For Action” – It’s getting hot in here…

“Enabling Cannabis Innovation with Law & Policy” – Well, why not?

It’s not all weirdness, though. Here are my favourites so far:

Can Innovation Be Taught?
Can innovative thinking, an intrinsically disruptive and elusive concept, be taught within formal, higher education? What does it look like in the classroom? Or outside of it? Join leaders from creative / innovation labs at universities across the US to explore these questions.

Product Innovation: Five Signs You’re Faking It
Innovation is being touted everywhere: company websites, TV commercials, and even restaurants. And with catch phrases like, “Innovate or Die” being shouted from the rooftops, it’s hard not to jump on the bandwagon. But how can you tell whether your company is making it for faking it?

Innovations to Disrupt Aging
When does age become just a number and as irrelevant as race and sex in determining someone’s societal value? What does it mean to disrupt aging and how is technology facilitating the process?

How large organisations (and start ups) innovate
Who is really driving the disruptive innovation we see today? Lean start ups such as AirBnB, Uber & Spotify are known for challenging industry business models & the status quo. But what is the role of larger, more established companies in innovation? And can they keep up?

Google’s Creative Skills for Innovation : Lab
Join Google’s Creative Skills for Innovation : Lab to develop your capacity to innovate and get 10x ideas into the world. In this action-packed Lab you will radically collaborate on audacious challenges, discover how to unleash creativity, experiment efficiently and prototype to develop innovations fast.

Sex, Social and the Future of Love
Disclaimer – this one is mine. A good SXSW presentation resonates across the industry for months and a great one can change the destiny of a business forever. With that in mind I’ve decided to do a presentation on sh*gging. My presentation “Sex, Social and the Future of Love” will be co-presented by Hannah Witton, a vlogger specialising in sexuality.

In this panel, we bust some of the biggest sex and social myths. We’ll explain why a woman with a grapefruit is a more credible sexpert than any brand. And we explore why sex doesn’t always sell on social. You might even get your hands on some of the latest connected sex toys. If you would like me and Hannah to represent the UK at SXSW, please register on the SXSW site, vote and leave a comment.

You might also want to take a look at the other great panels we’re planning here at We Are Social, one on how the use of tech is affecting and defining tomorrow’s leaders, the other exploring the unexpected events that led to social technologies becoming an ingrained part of our lives. We look forward to seeing you there.