SXSW: Highlights from 13th March

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SXSW is one of our favourite events of the year. The world renowned festival provides an opportunity to learn about the latest technologies and trends that will shape the way we see and interact with the world tomorrow. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.

This year, we sent Head of Strategy, Claire Knapp and Senior Planner, Sarah Price to the the event in Austin. Despite being exceptionally busy and wanting to see at least 4 sessions at any one time, they have promised to send us their daily highlights. Their first installment is below.

Adam Grant: Interactive Keynote
Adam spoke about the 6 defining features of original thinkers and their success in bringing ideas and innovations to frutition:

  1. Original thinkers aren’t risk takers, they’re risk mitigators
  2. Original thinkers select the right innovations by avoiding ideas that have been done before or those they are too personally invested in to see objectively
  3. They pitch ideas by making new unfamiliar ideas, familiar
  4. They admit their weaknesses so it is hard to poke holes in their ideas
  5. Successful start-ups hire differently, focusing on finding people that fill gaps in their culture
  6. Original thinking buck against ‘group thinking’ and challenge people to go against the grain

Embrace digital disruption to reinvent healthcare
Without question, the time has never been riper to disrupt the healthcare environment with technology and data. This fascinating panel, made up of digital medicine company, Proteus, Baylor Scott & White Health, PediaQ and a digital healthcare investor (previous CTO of Uber) studied why healthcare is ready to be interrupted and what this could look like from disease management right through to adherence. But the challenge, as with all things, is that as technology and machine learning becomes more sophisticated, data becomes invaluable. Particularly in healthcare, the sharing of data is incredibly difficult, and the real challenge in disrupting healthcare is not in the application of new technology but in partnership and in creating an ecosystem that enables data to move around and be fed to the right stakeholder at the right time.

Future of warfare
Incredibly interesting discussion between top Pentagon Strategic Capabilities Officer, Will Roper and WIRED editor in chief, Nicholas Thompson about how robots, artificial intelligence, drones and Pokemon Go will shape the future of warfare. As with healthcare, technology in warfare moves much quicker than the industry and the ability to stay abreast of the opportunities and applications is increasingly difficult; the real challenge is being able to quickly drive change through the organisation. Surprisingly, much of the technology utilised by the Pentagon is commercially-available, allowing them to focus more on software advances than hardware developments.