The first two days of SXSW have been quite an adventure! Filled with repeated themes across multiple sessions, missed connections with the Game of Thrones experience, meeting new international friends and enjoying delicious Austin cuisine.
Reframe and Repeat – Olivia’s Take
For me, the repeated theme has been the concept of ‘reframing,’ choosing to look at a problem or situation from a different angle.
The concept was first mentioned by Brené Brown in her Keynote Session, where she encouraged attendees to “move in” or change their perspective on difficult people because when people are “up close,” we realize just how much we have in common with them.
Reframing was next mentioned by Limitless author, Laura Gassner Otting, who encouraged attendees to stop thinking about the concept of success in other people’s terms, but rather identify what success truly looks like to you.
Next up, I had the great pleasure of hearing from two creative thinking i
Stay Curious And Remain Humble – Carissa’s Take
Thus far, two major themes have emerged from the sessions I’ve attended so far at SXSW.
First – curiosity is king. From keynote speaker Brené Brown to adaptive design champions Molly Kettle of Zappos Adaptive and Mindy Scheier of Runway of Dreams, each shared the importance of getting curious. Asking questions of audiences, experts and collaborators, and remaining open to new experiences, new connections and unique opinions and insights. Keeping an open mind and asking the right questions can lead to opportunities and solutions that right now individuals and brands cannot even imagine.
MIT graduate and IBM Chief Agitator John Cohn even suggested that the best ideas come when we simply get curious and play around. He offered that spending time experimenting – when you’re not worried about the outcome and maybe you’re even spending work time doing what you shouldn’t – goofing around – can lead to creative solutions that lead to big jumps in creativity and, ultimately, problem solving and innovation.
The founders of Big Spoon – the ad agency behind the wildly popular Game of Thrones and Westworld activations at SXSW – maintains a “culture fund” designed to get their team out into the world to experience things. Being curious about the world allows for new experiences that can ultimately inspire bigger and better ideas.
Being curious is one piece of the puzzle – but remaining humble is a key element, too. Basically, it’s okay to say, “I don’t know.”
Brené Brown set me off on the right foot by emphasizing the power of presence – showing up for others even when it might feel like the hardest thing to do. Paralympic athlete Scout Bassett emphasized the power and brand loyalty gained by brands who take the time to understand their core customers.
At Big Spoon, team members are encouraged to think like consumers and “destroy” creative plans before they ever make it to the client. It may not sound humble at first blush – but the ability to dial back ego and see plans from an end users’ perspective can make all the difference in a campaign’s ultimate success.
Finally – Brandless and Beam Impact spoke about corporate social responsibility (CSR), which for me boils down to aligning a brand’s values with its work – and utilizing the brand’s platform to do good in the world. Is there anything more humble than that?