The theme that resonated most for me on day 3, the final day, of SXSW V2V came from a phrase turned by Brian Solis during his Customer Experience presentation on Day 2, when he spoke about “the dilemma’s innovators” as a way of standing the book The Innovators’ Dilemma on its head.
As wealthy as our society is, we’ve got a lot of dilemmas: unemployment, hunger, lack of access to affordable healthcare, ill-fitting supply and demand in public education, and many more.
Day 3 at V2V was all about innovation and innovators, in every category, attacking these dilemmas. From work to play, for-profit to non-profit, civic to social, software to hardware, I heard many an innovator propose novel solutions across all walks of life.
The day started off with a great panel discussion on Deep Creativity, led by Helen Todd. What made it so informative was the variety of very pragmatic, tactical recommendations the panelists provided for a subject that sounds, on its face, like it would defy practicality. Here are a few gems I paraphrased from each speaker:
- Jey Van-Sharp: You never know when the muse will come, so make sure you are ready to capture it when it does (notepads, voice recorder on your smartphone, etc.)… and respect your ideas, so that you confidently recognize the genuine inspiration when you have it
- Adam Marelli: Ruggedize your creative process; train yourself to perform work in disruptive conditions that require creative thinking
- Jim Hopkinson: Build a mental board of advisors; this is a group of people who you may know (some of whom may be actual advisors to you) who you can mentally run a decision by and ask yourself, based on what you know about them, what kind of feedback each advisor would provide. A couple of clever, inexpensive services for feedback that Jim also offered were Fiverr and Feedback Army.
Eric Bee from Austin-headquartered Chaotic Moon, again provided some excellent pragmatic tips, in his case for how to build happiness into your products. Tip: Avoid trying to measure happiness as an isolated metric, because it’s impossible due to its unique and relative dimensions. Instead, measure achievement and improvement, because they represent dimensions that have attainable metrics and studies have shown time and again they are the among the strongest roots of happiness, .
Dave Knox of Rockfish and The Brandery, who spoke on methods to reconcile the natural conflict between the aspiration of building a company that can exist for 100 years and the high-change nature of product and service innovation that can be destructive to successful business models, literally over the course of less than a year.
Luke Iseman spoke about the concept he and a fellow student dreamed up for creating what they now refer to as Distributed Digital Manufacturing: a way to cheaply, rapidly deploy “maker” technology to nearly anywhere on earth – especially, remote, poor-infrastructure areas like those found in Africa – that serves an as “an API for making things.” You can get the full 411 about Luke’s work and the Digital Manufacturing shop at respective websites.
The other big highlight of Day 3 was the full-day of finalist pitches for the SXSW V2V startup competition. While Austin was shut out of the finalists, members of our community who participated as judges and advisors included Thomas Ball, Kyle Cox, and Dean Cruse.
The winners were:
- Education Technologies: LightSail
- Health Technologies: Soundfest
- Mobile and Tablet Technologies: Tipbit
- Culture and Entertainment Technologies: Zazoo
- Innovative World Technologies: Growing Plant
- Best Bootstrap: Helios Bars
- Speed Pitch: Handii
All I can say is: Austin start-ups, get your game face on for 2014!
- hardware and product design of physical “stuff,”
- intellectual property strategy and tactics, and
- venture key performance indicators/metrics.
So, if you are looking to participate as a speaker, those topics seem greenfield to me.
Well, that’s a wrap. The closing party was at the Bellagio — it, of the Ocean’s Eleven closing sequence.
Congrats to all of the SXSW staff and volunteers on a successful inaugural event. May we look forward to a good, long run with SXSW V2V in Las Vegas. See you next year!