I started my SXSW 2014 Interactive experience in the AT&T Conference Center at the University of Texas where MediaPost’s OMMA hosted a panel titled “Should Brands Be Part of the Real-Time Conversation?” In our continuously-connected society, there’s no answer to me other than: yes, most brands and businesses must be available on-demand to intersect with consumers at a moment’s notice.
Designing for our multi-device world was a big theme at SXSW 2014. According to Kerry Bodine, a panelist at the “From Every Screen to No-Screen: Next Gen Responsive” session, approximately 1.5 billion people have PCs, 1.5 billion people have smart phones, and 425 million people have tablets. So it’s no surprise that we’ve all become comfortable with the concept of responsive design for websites, ensuring that the display of our content adapts to be usable on different sized screens. But we shouldn’t get so comfortable with the concept that we stop looking at what’s next on the horizon.
The size and scope of SXSW has become enormous. But one session I found extremely thought-provoking this year was “Workplace Redesign: The Big Shift from Efficiency,” presented by John Hagel, Chairman of Deloitte Center for the Edge. Recognizing that talent is central to business success, this session explored how companies need to go beyond attracting and retaining talent and focus more on talent development.
As someone who manages a team, one of the most interesting sessions I attended at this year’s SXSW Interactive was “Generation Mash-Up: Y Bother?” The discussion was about bridging the gap among the generations as they collide in the workplace – highlighting how they are different and what you can learn and appreciate from each.