South by Southwest, commonly referred to as SXSW, is an annual set of festivals. There are film, music and interactive media festivals that take place either concurrently or consecutively in mid-March in Austin, TX. The festival started in 1987. Each year has seen more attendees and many changes to the lineup, event formula and location. The interactive media portion of the festival tends to focus on the creativity, innovation and inspiration needed in the technology-based industries.
What Are The Events
There are a number of different types of events offered at this festival. Participants can attend lounge, screening, exhibition, party, session, showcase and special events. The type of event will dictate what will take place. For example, at the lounge event called “3M LifeLab: The Big Picture,” attendees were able to take a step back from the day-to-day aspects of life and get an inside look at what 3M is doing to confront earth’s challenges.
All of the events focus on creativity, innovation and inspiration. Creativity is weaved into the event through the sharing atmosphere as guests and speakers alike are encouraged to discuss new ideas. Innovation takes the main stage as new technologies and industry leaders are highlighted. Inspiration is pumped into the event through the enlivened, energized and excited atmosphere.
This festival has been taking place for 29 years, but it has never been exactly the same. One major change for this year’s festival was the move of SX Create to the Palmer Events Center. This move gave a family-friendly play-space for the makers and hackers at the event. The move also allowed an addition of the Robot Ranch, which is a space where attendees can meet and greet A.I. animals and their creators.
Who Are the Speakers
With so much going on at the SXSW tech festival each year, it is hard to see every single speaker at the event. Some of the top speakers this year included:
Casey Gerald, co-founder and CEO of MBAs Across America
President Barack Obama
Dr. Brené Brown, bestselling author and founder and CEO of The Daring Way and COURAGEworks
Megan Smith, United States Chief Technology Officer
Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour
Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of Headspace
Why It’s Important
The look at new technologies and the discussion of new ideas is a very important part of innovation in the industry. SXSW gives the top talent in technology a space to share their ideas and a way to improve their creations through community input. It is important to have this space where thinkers and creators can come together to improve new technologies, come up with new ideas and make plans to help shape the world.