SXSW Day 1: Predicting The Future, The Latest in Sports VR and The Next Phase of The Internet
Clemenger Group Australia and New Zealand has sent a cross-disciplined crack-team to SXSW 2018 in Austin, Texas. Together, they're bringing daily updates for Little Black Book and Campaign Brief readers, featuring only the very best of the conference.
The Anatomy of a Trend
When Carla Buzsai started off by saying "Anna Wintour knows nothing about trends", the whole room was hooked. But, considering she's the founding editor-in-chief of Huffington Post UK and now Managing Director of WGSN, a leading trend forecasting company - she can back it up.
Carla discussed how WGSN discovers and defines upcoming trends - the laborious global research (largely ethnographic) that they all bring together, put on post-its, reshape, interrogate and reform again and again and again.
Very quickly you begin to see how these global trends, and the ripples they create, bring about opportunity for marketers, if used correctly. So, I know what you're thinking: what's hot for 2019?
Apparently, expect to see the emergence of mirrors that double as health assistants, matte black homewares, mint green fashion, vegan-friendly materials, vegetarian meat and hiking is the new Yoga.
Who would've thought?
VR in the Sports Industry
I know right... SXSW. VR, AR, Drones, Bots, A.I. - all the buzzwords and tech hype! But it just so happens that the most interesting session today was about exactly that: VR in the Sports Industry. However, it was refreshingly different.
Rather than just giving up a spiel about how shit-hot VR is (when we all know the adoption-rates are low, there's scaling issues and the headsets haven't quite met expectations yet), Derek Belch, the founder of STRIVR chatted about how they use VR to train NFL Quarterbacks. By simulating plays in VR, quarterbacks can read defensive lines and identify play opportunities and threats--like blitzes--off the field.
Vocational training is a growing subset of the VR industry, with brands like Walmart using it to induct employees into the store environment without disrupting the day-to-day.
Sports may be one of the spaces we see true adoption of the technology. Maybe then it'll filter into general society.
The Shadow Side of Human Centered Design
The practice of human-centered design is something that, when done perfectly, we shouldn't feel at all. That's all well and nice, but humans are flawed and things are shit sometimes.
So, speaker Melis Senova challenged the weary-eyed early-morning audience to better their design practice, by thinking darker. Her talk was about the other side of design. The side where governments don't govern that well, or relief aid isn't distributed that well, or life isn't peachy 24/7.
And it's only when you understand and embrace all the potential evils--from the failures to the ways your design could be misappropriated--that you'll be able to design a true solution.
Senova's presentation culminated in a very poignant statement: if we keep designing through rose-tinted glasses, we're only designing for half of the human experience.
It may be bleak, but she's got a point.
Why Ethereum Will Change the World
This interview-style chat with Joseph Lubin was a hot-topic session. Mainly because he helped create blockchain. And, from that, Ethereum.
But rather than adding to the long list of "future of cryptocurrency blah blah blah" presentations, Lubin opted to showcase the good and described his ambition for these world-shifting ideas: the next phase of the internet.
The packed room listened to Lubin describe a world of shared collaborative infrastructure. A world where online communities are formed around shared interests - like curing a disease. A decentralized, global network where no-one profits more than others.
In this next phase, makers share their wares with fans directly. Plus, anyone with unused hard drive space could rent it out. For payment they'd get tokens redeemable for online services. Like a trade-economy carnival game, where the prizes are anything from Amazon vouchers to the Adobe suite.
Daily SXSW 2018 highlights are brought to you by, Sabrina Riedel, Emma Tait, Brendan (Bob) Forster, Fraser (Franklin) Nelson, and Ben Kidney, pictured above.