Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Innovation

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Friday 11th March 2011

  • Rebooting Iceland: Crowdsourcing Innovation in Uncertain Times

    by Derek Lackaff, Gunnar Holmsteinn, Dilja Amundadottir, Heida Helgadottir and Guojon Mar Guojonsson

    In the US, social media innovators are changing the way people work and play. In Iceland, these innovators may offer the best hope of rescuing an entire nation.

    Iceland emerged in the 1990s as a financial powerhouse after a thousand years on the sidelines of global history. Icelanders became one of the world’s wealthiest and happiest nations. In 2008, three of its banks collapsed, sending the national economy into a tailspin and shattering the people’s trust in government and industry. The government was quickly replaced by one promising transparency and reforms, while a protest party headed by a comedian took control of the Reykjavik city council.

    This new cast of politicians is not alone in their efforts to move Iceland out from under the economic cloud. Members of the country's tech and entrepreneurial sector, which saw explosive growth in the lead-up to the collapse, have emerged as leaders in grassroots efforts to set Iceland on a sustainable path. Last year a loosely-organized group calling themselves the Anthill convened a “national assembly” of 1,500 citizens. The day-long event, based on Agile methods and crowdsourcing theory, resulted in a coherent set of values, vision and ideas.

    Now the government is planning a similar meeting in preparation for rewriting the constitution. Inspired by open-source processes and leaning heavily on social media technologies, these citizens are rapidly prototyping new forms of democracy utilizing the web and open innovation.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • Unleashing Employees: Empower Innovation From The Ground Up

    by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler

    Groundswell technology comes to consumers first. At home, we get social, mobile, video and cloud services pitched to us 24x7. Empowering technologies will always come to consumers first because it's a wide-open market. A single developer can build an application that changes the world from a broadband-connected bedroom.

    All this technology puts tremendous power directly into the hands of customers and they often have more information than your sales or services team does. You'd better make sure you give customers better information than they can get elsewhere.

    The only way to do that is to empower employees to directly engage the needs and expectations of customers. Fortunately, they are not standing still. Your innovative employees are already building new solutions using these same technologies to solve customer problems. In fact, 37% of US information workers use do-it-yourself technology to get work done. It's covert innovation – your employees solving your business problems at the ground level.

    The challenge is to support this innovation while keeping the company safe. That takes a whole new way of thinking and acting. It takes an empowered IT organization working under a new set of principles.

    Empowerment is chapter 3 in the Internet story. Chapter 1 was the Web. Chapter 2 was Social Computing. It has that feel of inevitability. Companies like Best Buy that empower employees to solve customer problems will win. Companies that don't will lose.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Salon K, Hilton Austin Downtown

Saturday 12th March 2011

  • How Many Rungs?: Social Change & the Engagement Ladder

    by George Weiner, Patty Huber, Robert Wolfe, Robert Rosenthal and Jacob Colker

    Slacktivism versus real engagement is a false dichotomy - the fact is that smart technologists who care about the world are innovating new ways for people to get involved in the causes they care about. Get used to it.

    Now, however, as we enter the next phase of this trend, questions still circle around the relationship between the new, less tested forms of involvement and traditional forms of volunteering and service that are still the bedrock of thousands of social change organizations.

    If new technologies are adding more rungs to a ladder of engagement in the form of sharing, viral promotions, micro-volunteering, and micro-giving, what's at the top and the bottom? Where do these actions live beside other innovative, non-technical forms of volunteering -- such as pro bono and skilled models? And what are the right business models for social enterprises that are innovating these technologies?

    Join moderator Robert Rosenthal from the pioneering social enterprise VolunteerMatch (www.volunteermatch.org) as he discusses these issues with technologists from three bleeding edge social change Web services: Dan Jacobs, founder of Everywun (www.everywun.com), Jacob Colker, co-founder of The Extraordinaries (www.beextra.org), and George Weiner, CTO of DoSomething.org.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

  • The Future of Innovation in Banking

    by Antonio F. Benjamin

    In an era of rapid internet development and innovation, banks have been described as technology laggards. This session will explore the future of innovation in banking and the payments industry. There are literally hundreds of large companies and startups in the payment space from Paypal to 1-person startups. The talk will also dive into “new currencies” and payments are emerging such as Facebook credits and other “alternative currencies”. Is there a future for the banking industry or are banks in danger of becoming relics. The session is not about Citigroup nor its business.

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Saturday 12th March

    In Grand Ballroom, AT&T Conference Center

  • Brands and digital R&D: PepsiCo10

    by Tracy Kobeda Brown

    More than ever, brands are getting into the digital innovation game – and not just the technology and electronics companies we’ve come to expect. It comes down to the new ways brands are participating in digital innovation, how they’re supporting it, and why is it imperative that they do so. This flash panel uses PepsiCo10, an “innovation incubator” that sought to pair start-ups with brands, as a case study and discussion starter on the topic.

    At 10:30am to 11:15am, Saturday 12th March

    In Meeting Room 2, Austin Convention Center

  • "It's Nature's Way": Innovative Tech Design Through Biomimicry

    by Kathleen Zarsky, Michael Dungan, Chris Allen and Holly Harlan

    A social network that functions like a colony of ants. A database that manages and shares information like a slime mold. What can we learn from the obvious? Millions of years of royalty free R&D embedded in nature holds the answers to many of today’s human centered design challenges. In this presentation, co-facilitated by Chris Allen of The Biomimicry Institute and Michael Dungan of BeeDance LLC, learn how a systems approach that mimics nature’s lessons and resiliency can be adapted to technology design. Biomimicry is a proven design process that asks nature for advice. The application of biomimicry is responsible for the development of successful products ranging from Velcro™ and photovoltaic solar panels to advanced seawater desalination methods and more efficient Japanese bullet trains. Bringing a biologist to the design table to explore innovation in IT application development and optimization can unlock new discoveries. The teachings of specific champions in nature that will lead to break-through design thinking will be offered during the presentation. When approached as mentor, model and measure, organisms and whole systems found in the natural world become powerful collaborators. As B2B and B2C users continue to seek out more robust, fast and reliable forms of technology, the answers may not be in the room, but right outside the window.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

  • Banks: Innovate or Die!

    by Rob Garcia, Joshua Reich, Bob Weinschenk and Brett King

    Are big banks too big to...innovate? It's clear that big banks have lost their innovative edge. Strict new government regulations and frustrated customers walking away haven't even sparked creativity from them. Luckily for consumers, there is a new wave of financial service innovators pushing the limits. Incorporating cutting edge technology, social media and -- believe it or not -- genuine customer service, this new group of financial players are giving traditional banks a run for their money. The Banks: Innovate or Die! panel will discuss why big banks are failing with today's Web 2.0 consumers, and will examine the new players in the space who are stealing customers away due to their innovation.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Salon F/G, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Be Heard: How to Innovate At Big Companies

    by William Hertling and Gene Kim

    Don't quit your big company job just yet to go work for that sexy startup. At this panel, seasoned professionals give their tips on how to successfully drive innovative ideas inside big companies.

    Whether you want to add social media to your company's web presence, adopt hot new technology, or have the next big business idea, we'll tell you how to accomplish it, even in the face of management that still prints out their email.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Brazos 2/3, Marriott Courtyard Austin Downtown/Convention Center

Sunday 13th March 2011

  • Data-Driven Government: Improving the Citizen Experience [Cancelled]

    by Julie Germany, Aneesh Chopra and Matt Lira

    Over the past several years, there have been many discussions regarding how interactive technology can drive change in our nation’s politics – but of perhaps greater importance is how technology can improve the daily functioning of our nation’s government.

    The discussion should not be a partisan one – this panel will bring together leading innovators from both parties to engage in a post-partisan discussion about how technology can improve the public’s interactions with their government.

    This discussion should be about specifics – we can all agree on the broad principles that technology drives change – but we have all heard that conversation before. This panel will focus on the specific progress that has been made, the specific opportunities that exist in the near future, and the specific challenges that need to be addressed.

    As citizens increasingly become on-demand consumers in their daily lives, it is clear that government needs to better utilize interactive technology or it will only be more radically disconnected from the public.

    This is not a political conference, which is precisely why it should be where this conversation takes place – how can the innovations from the creative, marketing and interactive communities be applied to improving our nation?

    Our government needs to modernize. We need to move forward and debate new ideas, focusing on how we can collectively make our government work smarter, faster and better for all citizens.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

  • Getting Your Breakthrough Idea Approved by Decision Makers

    by John Ellett

    Whether it is a cool iPad app, a Facebook promo or an engaging blog concept, great new interactive ideas must get green-lighted before they see the light of day. In many companies this can be a frustrating experience. This panel will provide advice on how to get to “yes” from marketing executives who have approved (and killed) ideas like yours. A discussion of examples from the panelists’ respective companies will be followed by an “open mic” session where the members of the audience get to make one-minute quick pitches for advice from the panelists. The attendee with the best pitch will get a $100 gift card to celebrate his/her creative idea by exploring Austin’s exceptional eateries (or drinkeries) during the conference.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

  • More than Buzzword Bingo: Making Innovation a Reality

    by Deanna Rockefeller

    Ever felt like your organization is in a rut? It’s the same thing year in year out with a new buzzword to lead the “new” effort. Learn how to use business models, new organization strategy and proven methods to make continuous innovation a reality. It is one thing to have an annual innovation contest but quite another to create an atmosphere where there is an attitude of creativity and out of the box thinking while simultaneously meeting the goals of a bottom-line focused company. This presentation will discuss how to leverage people from other functional areas to create a group that doesn’t rock the preverbal boat, but instead creates an autonomous fish. The strategies discussed here apply to all businesses from start-ups to well established corporations. The examples come from both types of organizations, but the truly radical changes can best be seen in introducing these concepts to an established company.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Brazos 2/3, Marriott Courtyard Austin Downtown/Convention Center

  • America's Future in Innovation

    by David Kappos

    Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property David Kappos is charged with Advising the Secretary of Commerce, and the President of the United States, on all aspects of Intellectual Property policy.

    Our nation faces an uncertain economic future. It is clear however, that in order to be successful, America will need to harness the ingenuity, creativity, and innovation of its people—America will need to harness its Intellectual Property.

    A sound Intellectual Property system will help support R&D that propels the Green Tech revolution; will allow people to harness the power of digitization and an internet-connected world; and will better ensure the preservation of cultural diversity and drive growth of the creative arts.

    Under Secretary Kappos will lay out his vision for the future of the Intellectual Property system and describe its impact on the world’s entrepreneurs, innovators, and creators.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Grand Ballroom, AT&T Conference Center

  • Design-Driven Innovation: How Designers Facilitate the Dialog

    by Jim Nieters and Carola Thompson

    In the real world, coming up with a breakthrough idea doesn’t mean it will get to market. By nature, innovative ideas are different and represent new ways of thinking. Getting stakeholders to recognize the value of these market-shaking ideas, buy into and support them, and agree to build them, requires a new kind of design skill: facilitation. This session will show how leading innovation workshops (collaborative design workshops) not only brings UX to the strategy table, but it invents a new table at which strategic ideation and dialog can take place constructively.

    In this session, two designers will show how they have lead very different types of innovation workshops to generate creative new ideas, get stakeholders aligned around those ideas, and drive those innovations to market. They will share their favorite methods for getting cross-functional groups to ideate, filter ideas using the innovation funnel, and align organizations around a common vision for breakthrough evolution. They will also post instructions for conducting successful innovation workshops.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Salon E, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Crowdsourcing: Innovation and/or Exploitation?

    by Fred Benenson, Jonathan Zittrain, Lada Adamic and Lukas Biewald

    You've probably already heard about crowdsourcing platforms like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and CrowdFlower which offer anyone the ability to employ thousands of humans to perform on demand micro-assignments at pennies per task.

    But does crowdsourcing even work? What value can thousands of dislocated clicks really provide? Is this really the future of online labor?

    In this panel we’ll be examining the topic of crowdsourcing, the crowdsourced labor market, and the entrepreneurial and creative opportunities made possible by “human APIs.”

    We’ll also tackle some of the newest innovations in crowdsourcing such as virtual labor for virtual goods where Farmville and other MMPOG gamers are awarded in-game currency for doing real-world microwork such as tagging photos and filling out surveys.

    However there's growing concern that these Farmville migrant workers are being unfairly exploited. This is further complicated by the fact that many of them happen to be minors.

    But does it even make sense to equivocate their work with “normal” labor? Are there really people living in developing nations that live hand-to-mouth on their income from crowdsourcing? Finally, what are the regulatory and social considerations that we can expect in the future for this space?

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

Monday 14th March 2011

  • Better Innovation, Design and Sustainability via Open Source

    by Hannah Jones and Andrew Zolli

    The need has never been greater than it is today for action to be taken on separating consumption from the use of natural resources if we are all to thrive in a future sustainable economy.

    Nike believes that design, innovation and a commitment to open source data and collaboration will help fast track the work needed to architect a sustainable roadmap.

    This session will explore the internal and external pressures that are creating a platform for Nike to start a conversation with the design and development community around the value and application of intellectual property and data to help find solutions to some of the most intractable sustainability problems.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Monday 14th March

    In Salon K, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Business Model 101: How To Actually Make Money?

    by Andrew Marshall and Renee Hopkins

    The regular Thursday noon Innochat has become hugely popular on Twitter. As founder of Innochat, I propose a live session with a mixed panel of innovation experts and entrepreneurs in which we'll discuss business model theory and business model innovation and design as they pertain to specific start-ups and established companies. We will gather volunteers beforehand, entrepreneurs and representatives from existing companies who are willing to discuss their process of business model innovation and eager to get advice from the panel of Innochat experts.

    Business model innovation is a hot topic currently because entrepreneurs are discovering that without a clear picture of their business model success remains elusive. And established businesses facing threats are discovering that redesigning their business models may be the only thing that will save them. This topic is of particular interest at SXSW because many attendees are either startups or come from companies threatened by the rise of digital publishing of all kinds -- the music industry, print media, the film industry, and the software industry, in particular -- companies that critically need new business models to survive.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Salon E, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • What Overseas Innovations Still Haven't Hit the US Market Yet?

    by Debi Jones

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 4:15pm to 4:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom E, Austin Convention Center

  • Communication and Innovation: Does Culture Still Matter?

    by Max Niederhofer

    An in-depth exploration from panellists on how innovation and communication differs from country to country. Panellists will discuss and provide insight into the barriers currently affecting innovation and communication in countries across the world and how we can learn from one another as we continue to move forward and evolve in these capacities at the global level.
    The panel will also discuss how the rise of the internet and related technologies have facilitated the ease of bridging any barriers affecting multicultural innovation and communication and how they have ultimately created a new set of rules for doing business.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Monday 14th March

    In Rio Grande B, Marriott Courtyard Austin Downtown/Convention Center

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Art, Architecture 2.0: Digital Spirit Invades Physical Innovation

    by Christophe Cauvy

    The digital revolution has allowed thousands of people not only to conceive great ideas but also to execute, produce them. With digital technologies, you don’t need raw materials, factories, distribution centres, stores… you can reach a worldwide audience quickly and cheaply just by using your brain and your PC.

    This innovation-led culture is now ubiquitous, and it looks like it has inspired (or liberated) not only entrepreneurs and businesspeople, but also civil servants, engineers, artists and architects: even if their ideas belong to the “physical” world, their approach belong to the digital culture.

    This presentation provides example of this new spirit of liberation: from a science-fictionesque tram station in Austria, to an Italian village that, with the help of a giant mirror, created the physical equivalent of Facebook (http://bit.ly/al875a), through to artists who conceived the ultimate hotel experience in Paris (http://tinyurl.com/ybxjlty), used physical crowd-sourcing to create a piece of art or wrote a twitter-inspired theatre play… etc.

    We are in a more open society where creativity is less constrained by cultural, technological or financial constraints. We are moving from “everyone can have ideas” or “everyone can be an artist” to “everyone is an innovator”.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Tuesday 15th March

    In Salon J, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Innovation Dot Gov: Designing Democracy for the Age of Networks

    by Beth Simone Noveck

    Former White House Deputy CTO and Open Government leader addresses how to use technology to design smaller and smarter government for the 21st century. Bringing innovation to the public sector doesn’t require new legislation or new budgets. It requires changing the default way of working from closed to open.

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

  • Innovation: What Happens in Budapest Stays in Budapest?

    by Peter Halacsy, Zsolt Remenyi, Peter Arvai and Henry Copeland

    In theory, with global brands, instant communication and efficient markets, innovative sites in one country should be quickly copied in others. But cultural idiosyncrasies, language barriers and entrepreneurial egos often conspire to limit the diffusion of innovation. This panel looks at the web culture in Hungary, a European innovation hub, to evaluate its web imports and exports. Are entrepreneurs overlooking opportunities for innovation arbitrage between countries?

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Tuesday 15th March

    In Salon K, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

  • Is Crowd-sourcing the Enemy of Innovation?

    by Robson Grieve and Michelle Gass

    The great democratization called crowd-sourcing is quickly becoming a debilitating hurdle for innovation. Without an understanding of how to use public opinion, C-suite officers are ditching vision and conviction and risk turning critical business decisions into popularity contests. Do “we, the people” have too much power? How should you use the crowd?

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Salon F/G, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Shaping the Future with Small Moves, Smartly Made

    by John Hagel

    Most companies are content to pursue adaptation strategies in times of high uncertainty – sense and respond quickly to events as they unfold. While adaptation is certainly valuable, it misses a much greater opportunity – the ability to shape entire markets or industries in ways that create significant advantage for the shaper. While most disruptive innovation strategies focus on a single company betting heavily on a disruptive approach to the market, shaping strategies emphasize the opportunity to mobilize a very large number (thousands and, in some case, millions) of other participants to leverage investment and accelerate learning. As a result, shaping strategies can succeed with small initial moves, smartly made, that set big things in motion. This talk will review examples of successful shapers in the past to determine the key elements that determine the success of shaping strategies.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Salon J, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage note

  • How Governments are Changing Where Big Ideas Happen

    by Sean Kane, Tony Schum and Ian Kelso

    More than ever, governments across the world, at both national and local levels, are working hard to attract the "creative/digital industries". When you're looking for a job, you may not know how much your city, state or even national government often play a role in what companies are hiring in your community.

    While traditional economic development has typically meant a scenario like bringing a factory to a rural area, a newer practice involves growing so-called industries of the mind. Canada has led the way, but now many states across America are offering incentives to game developers and other tech-related companies (to say nothing of the massive internal investments by certain countries, such as Russia). The benefits can be tax breaks, loans, grants, tax credits and even free rent to get you and your brain trust to make the move.

    This discussion will look at why these sorts of incentives are thought to bring benefit to not just the companies, but to their communities and taxpayers, too.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 10AB, Austin Convention Center


  • Fostering Social Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets [Cancelled?]

    by Meg Garlinghouse

    Increasing entrepreneurship and innovation in emerging markets can positively transform lives, societies and economies. The Middle East, with its rich history in innovation across mathematics and science, is being viewed at the next hotbed of technology entrepreneurism.

    This has been recently acknowledged by President Obama at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, and by companies like Yahoo!, who continue to invest in this region of the world.

    While enterprise risk taking was once not perceived as culturally acceptable across the Arab world, it is today encouraged and happening across the region. This is especially true in Egypt, where there are more than 16.5 million Internet users, the largest Arab Internet population.

    To help foster that entrepreneurial spirit and appetite, Yahoo! and Egypt-based NGO, Nahdet El Mahrousa, are together spearheading an unprecedented campaign and competition to encourage social entrepreneurship among Egyptian youth. Dubbed, ‘Social Innovation Starts with YOU,’ the competition is inspiring thousands of Egyptian youth to conceive innovative social enterprise ideas that make a positive impact on the word.

    In Nov. 2010, the winners of the competition will be honored with monetary grants and technical and management support to help bring ideas to life. The audience will learn about the inception of this campaign, how it is making a positive impact on the region and why it is important to Yahoo!’s business.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    In Big Bend, Hyatt Regency Austin