I’ve been at SXSW for three days, and I’ve been to more than 15 conferences, some very good, and others… not so much. This in itself is evidence that we are really living in an avalanche of information. Actually, in one of the good presentations I saw, I heard Howard Wright, an executive at Intel, state that “data is the new oil,” when he emphasized the commercial value of the information generated in ever-increasing volumes in our daily digital lives. So, I decided to select a few presentations that I found most interesting, to share with you.
Creative Problem Making
I saw fun presentations like “Make it Hard: Benefits of Creative Problem Making.” The speakers built a set on the stage, with the idea of making a film clip during the presentation, using the audience’s participation. And they did it! The group is known for making film clips and communication videos for Brands, with the aim of shooting everything in a single (or just a few) take(s). All the preparation and planning involved seem quite difficult and labor-intensive, justifying the presentation’s title and the experience it offered.
I also attended presentations on technology. I learned a bit more about bots, held as the new frontier of the digital world, in which the interfaces are evolving towards something more conversational – and there is already talk of a post-apps and smartphones age.
Sci-Fi or Technology?
I also broadened by knowledge on blockchain, a technology – that still feels like sci-fi to me, I must confess – that seeks to lend authenticity to data, to create reliable records and to decentralize the control of information. This is the basis for Bitcoin, which allows users to make transactions without going through a financial institution. Imagine the potential and impact this could have on our economy!
The theme of this presentation, which was a bit more serious, generated a discussion between the mayor of Atlanta, a few executives from Intel and Verizon, and the co-founder of the NGO US Ignite, around the feasibility of the construction of smart communities, an idea based on a much more simple vision, and geared towards smaller communities.
Design and Inspiration
To wrap up, there was an excellent presentation by John Maeda who, with simplicity and amicability, presented a study on how design is used today, broken out into three types of design: Classic Design, carried out by professionals who value the formal result and finishing; Design Thinking, a design used in corporations and businesses; and Computational Design, which is digital design in all of its variants.
John Maeda emphasized the importance of design as a business tool, and the fact that more and more large corporations have selected designers for executive positions. It really seems like we are living in interesting times, full of possibilities, in which design thinking is put into practice on many different fronts.