Top 5 Takeaways to Spark Innovation from SXSW V2V

Whether you want to call it “Vision to Venture,” “Visionaries to Vegas” or “Voice to Voice,” South by Southwest (SXSW) V2V followed through on its promise of giving attendees, “the creative spark that drives entrepreneurial innovation.” SXSW V2V brought the same inspiration of the Austin event to Las Vegas in a four-day long conference focusing on the startup and entrepreneurial landscape. The conference featured panel discussions, mentoring workshops for entrepreneurs and a startup competition. The biggest thing SXSW V2V validated for me was the importance of Noble Studios’ first core value: embracing passion. Based on this theme, here’s the list of my top five takeaways from 2014’s SXSW V2V:

1. “What’s your pink backpack moment?”

My inspiration kicked off with the keynote “Make an Impact” led by Ari Horie, founder and CEO of Women’s Startup Lab (@wslab). Horie, who was recently featured on The CNN 10: Visionary Women list, took us through her life lessons, which led her to building her accelerator model for women tech founders. She started by emphasizing the point of embracing differences by using an analogy of her mom having her carry a pink backpack through her school years when all the other kids wore red ones. She felt awkward, then slowly started to embrace being different, which was the realization that projected her onto her path in life. Other lessons include taking a chance, being persistent and her infamous “Hito rule” – inspired by the Japanese character meaning “human.” Horie uses this to describe the unique focus on community to better your business.

2. “That tastes like feet!”

In a humorous start to her track on the approach to multi-device UX, Michal Levin, senior user experience designer at Google, talked about the importance of ensuring things blend together well. “Have you ever had something that tasted like feet?” she asked the crowd. Levin took us through what she calls the ecosystem to multi-device UX by focusing on the three Cs: consistent, continuous and complimentary – which are a toolbox that must be integrated. Most importantly, she stressed the importance of thinking big by understanding the story to be told but starting small.

3. “Technology is no longer the reason people buy.”

John Maeda, design partner at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers led our second day’s keynote on the topic of design, stressing the importance of it in technology companies. Think about what makes you buy with all the options out there – it’s about design and user experience. Maeda had a compelling talk which wrapped up with three key points:

  •     Start with design, and just don’t end with it.
  •     Let designers code, and engineers design.
  •     Don’t view business as an anathema to designers.

4. “Have you had a good wearable moment?”

In a nod to my passion topic of augmented reality, I listened to John Tapley, eBay innovation product manager and Krystal Higgins, eBay senior interaction designer, discuss the topic of “wearing the future.” Wearable devices offer the opportunity to create targeted customer experiences. However, they will only be successful if the interactions are simple and effective. The duo defined a “good wearable moment” as being: personal, streamlined, considerate and collaborative. Now I’m off looking for my moment!

5. “When was your last ‘Ah-hah’ moment?”

Coming full circle to the opening keynote by Ari Horie, she had remarked at one point: “When you relax, it’s when your ‘ah-hah’ moments happen. Set time aside to not think.” In digesting my experience at V2V I realized I finally took time to unplug, observe and just be – something I had not done in a while. And that is when I had my own ‘ah-hah’ moment; somewhere along my career I have taken off my pink backpack. Time to dig it out of the closet.