SXSW: Putting disparate pieces together

Kieran Ots, Leo Burnett Sydney
By Kieran Ots, Leo Burnett Sydney | 17 March 2015

Creativity and innovation don't come out of nowhere - they come from SXSW. I've just finished day 2 at SXSW. I arrived late, and I think I've been trying to catch up since. Running from session to session, and trying to see, hear and learn as much as I can.

You start each day with a loose plan. Narrow down to a selection of things that look interesting. And then invariably get distracted by something else at the last minute. Or realise that the session you've given yourself five minutes to get to, is actually across the river.

Needless to say there is a lot going on. While there's some obvious common threads (connectivity, wearables and the internet of things get a regular workout in the session titles), the range of content is pretty broad. From listening to Jack Welch and Gary Vaynerchuk talking about entrepreneurialism in an incredibly frank, direct and often hilarious way, to being able to touch (or not touch) haptic interfaces made out of soundwaves, to listening to other companies' processes and comparing and contrasting them to our own, somtimes it feels like you're just jumping from one random topic to another.

Besides, not everything you come across at SXSW is a huge revelation. There are no state secrets on show here. So why travel all this way to come check it out?

Because creativity and innovation come from putting existing pieces together in ways that have never quite been assembled before. And SXSW is the perfect place to do just that. As you move from session to session, and demonstration to demonstration, as you meet people, chat with your colleagues and debate or discuss the pros and cons of whatever you've just seen, you can't help but start to make random connections in your head.

That's probably what is the most inspiring thing about being here. Not just the content, but the fact that you can stumble around a huge network of ideas, any of which could click together and turn into something interesting. Maybe even something we haven't seen before.

Kieran Ots,
Digital creative director,
Leo Burnett Sydney



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