We’re four days into SXSW and haven’t slowed down for a single minute! There is one more day to go – including a panel with our client Craig Hospital and their partner Microsoft titled “Inclusive Design: Nothing About Us Without Us.” Hope to see some friendly faces there! In the meantime, here are our key takeaways from the past few days.
Creativity and Connecting IRL – Carissa’s Take
I’ve attended at least a half-dozen sessions in the past 48 hours that touched on creativity. Cognitive psychologist Mark Runco joined Bluprint on stage to discuss the key elements of creativity (openness and tolerance), while suggesting that extrinsic motivation (think paychecks or bonuses) don’t spark creativity, while intrinsic motivations (like, it feels good or makes you happy) are keys to unlocking the creative self.
Operating on a limited budget, but craving the ability to collaborate and create community, Kids Listen leverages tools like Slack to help kid-focused podcasters of all levels share ideas and insights in real time.
When asked about sustained creativity, actress and producer Elizabeth Banks suggested that finding a topic to which you can relate, and about which you can stay passionate for a long time helps keep up the momentum. Similarly, clothing designer Mondo Guerra emphasized that comparison of yourself or your work to others implies that there’s only one path, or one “right way” to do something. Respecting your own creativity and talents opens the door to success.
HBO offered that when research revealed that nostalgia was trending among their key audiences, they got creative and leveraged a fun nickname campaign to celebrate the Sopranos’ 20th Anniversary. This creative, whimsical approach garnered massive consumer engagement as well as media attention.
Bluprint’s Danielle Wilkie introduced me to the concept of “collective individualism” today – meaning the opportunity to be and express yourself, but within the context of a larger, like-minded group. This really set me up to think about another theme I picked up over the past few days – the value of connecting in real life.
I’ve shared tables with strangers from Australia and Canada who quickly became new friends, and I met like-minded parents who shared my parenting values and were kind enough to take my picture when my phone was on the fritz.
I love podcasts and consuming information and ideas online – but it sure does mean something different to experience and share in person.
A speaker from the travel site Iamsterdam talked about the importance of connecting face-to-face with locals to help understand the impacts of tourism on their day-to-day lives, while also sharing the benefits of welcoming new people in. In a conversation about diversity, speaker Jason Lambert emphasized the importance of connecting in person with team members to better understand not only where they’re coming from, but also to share where the organization is going to allow for more inclusive practices and better understanding.
Smash Boom Best podcast producer Sanden Totten suggested that podcasting is an open pathway to getting information, but also a great way to spark curiosity and conversations – hopefully in real life with friends and family.
Unexpected Surprises – Olivia’s Take
Days three and four of SXSW were full of unexpected moments of surprise and delight, reminding me that it’s the little things that can make the biggest impact.
The first moment of surprise and delight happened at Sunday’s first session of my day, when cuddling specialist Janet Trevino offered me a hug. She and Epiphany Jordan went on to explain the importance of physical touch in our lives, identifying that loneliness is all too common in our culture, where our digital interactions have increased while our personal connections have decreased.
The remedy? Be open to connections (e.g. phone down, eyes up) and don’t be afraid to have open conversations about appropriate physical touch.
The second surprise and delight moment occurred at Henry Winkler’s (AKA “the Fonz”) session. As a huge fan of HBO’s show Barry, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was extremely surprised and delighted to find that Henry is wildly entertaining, extremely kind and full of one-liner words of wisdom that are applicable to everyday life. He encouraged the audience to be brave and visit the areas outside of comfort zones.
The final surprise happened this morning when I attended Christina Tosi’s session on innovation and the pursuit of the unexpected. The chef, founder and owner of Milk Bar shared fantastic insights on the branding process with RedScout, which brought consistent branding to her innovative bakery concept. A delicious surprise came after the session when I received a free Milk Bar cookie – the true breakfast of champions!
Want to experience our last day at SXSW in real-time? Follow our Austin adventures on Twitter (@otowncolorado and @CarissaMc) or Instagram (@MeetAtCT and @GroundFloorPR)!