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Digital Engineers go South by Southwest

Published in People

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March 8, 2019 · 4 min read time

​This year, Nitor’s Digital engineers are heading over to Austin’s South by Southwest. Read why it’s important for designers and developers to embrace creativity in all forms and what Annina, Björn and Otto are most eagerly awaiting from the event.

South by Southwest is a mixture of a technology & design conferences and film, interactive media and music festivals that take place in March in Austin, Texas. The festival dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals.

Founded in 1987, SXSW has developed over the years with for example, gaming taking an even more prominent stage. South by Southwest is regarded as an essential experience for global professionals with its event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities.

Check out what we are most looking forward to. – And if you’ll be at SXSW as well, come say hi!

Annika Kivikari, company profile image, blue background

Annina Kivikari, Designer

I’ve wanted to go to South by Southwest since I first heard about it in university a decade ago. At the time, I thought it was only a showcasing festival for musicians! Over the years I’ve become increasingly interested in how South by brings together elements of popular culture with insightful technology vision. Contemplating our culture and where it’s headed is fascinating and especially visible in the Intelligent Future track. I’m also excited to see whether Austin lives up to its reputation of being a progressive hub of weirdo alternative culture.

Annina's SXSW:

Björn Heselius, company profile image, blue background

Björn Heselius, Principal Designer

When former U.S. President Barack Obama spoke at SXSW in 2016, he urged people to become more engaged and to make things that regular people can benefit from. It was then that I opened up my previously cynical eyes for the possibility of maybe one day participating in SXSW.

There was – in my eyes – a realistic method that could answer President Obama’s question: “How can we start coming up with new platforms, new ideas, new approaches, across disciplines and across skill sets to solve the big problems we are facing today?”

President Obama also mentioned what I then – and still – see as one of the most important things in the evolution of tech and ways of working: “We cannot solve the problems we face collectively as a society, unless we, the people, are paying attention.”

Paying attention is key – be it in designing new services or products, creating art, or simply participating in a simple conversation. That is also what I will be doing at SXSW in Austin, Texas, this March.

Björn's SXSW:

I will be paying attention and I hope to find myself in discussions about any of the following topics:

  • Creating ethical and (non-)biased AI’s.

  • Human Centered Tech and the Human Experience.

  • Designing not only for accessibility but for inclusion.

And as the fan of reality tv show Top Chef that I am, one of my absolute must see sessions is Making Change On and Off Screen with Top Chef host and influencer Padma Lakshmi.

Otto Manninen, company profile image, blue background

Otto Manninen, Director, Consulting

So what are people talking about this year’s SXSW? There is actually so much going on that I decided to approach the conference topics by looking at the data and making this simple data visualization to help build my schedule.

South by Southwest event graph, Conference sessions, talks, and meetups by Category.

SXSW 2019 Conference sessions, talks and meetups by Category.

There will be a total of 2178 conference sessions in 28 categories happening in ten days. The top 5 categories (measured by sessions) are Music Industry & Culture, Tech Industry & Enterprise, Entrepreneurship & Startups, Brands & Marketing and Film & TV Industry.

And of course there is a lot of topics that are present across the categories. The keywords that stand out the most in different sessions and talks seem to be AI, Machine Learning, Data, Blockchain, Accessibility and Inclusivity (measured only by my gut-feeling).

Otto's SXSW:

For me, the most inspiring tracks are Intelligent Future, Style & Retail, Future Workplace and Brands & Marketing. Here are a few gems I’m looking forward to see!

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