SXSWi 2012 Panel Recommendations

Here’s a list of the panels I hope elbow out some of the shit that’s infiltrated SXSW lately. This list is curated from RSS and Twitter. Are  there any that you’d recommend? (List ordered by submission id, only.)

A Brief History of the Complete Redesign of Google

    In the summer of 2011, Google completely redesigned nearly all of its applications to be more focused, elastic, and effortless. For the first time in Google’s history, hundreds of millions of users could use a suite of products – from Search and Maps to Gmail, Docs, and Calendar – with a unified, modern look and feel. Join the designers who led the effort for war stories and lessons learned in bringing beauty to Google’s flagship products.

Storywarp! Telling tales in ads, journalism + film

    Storywarp began in London in 2011 as a mini-conference on the elements of storytelling, looking at how storytelling and the storyteller’s responsibility change from one medium to another. Yet now, as content curation has come to sit alongside content creation as a legitimate (and lucrative) form of storytelling, the storyteller’s role is changing. From brand stories and news stories to cautionary tales, the landscape is shifting. How must the storytelling tradition evolve in the next few years?

Users NOT Customers. Learning from Startups

    It’s no secret that Google, Facebook, and Twitter all found success by building a user base before turning to monetization. Join Aaron Shapiro, CEO of HUGE as he runs through the seven lessons all businesses need to learn from startups and successful Internet companies in order to survive in a digitally driven economy. Aaron will show how companies can drive sales by focusing on user needs, not just customers, a fundamental strategic shift.

Fake It Till You Make It: Tools For Prototyping

    In the world of startups today, the greatest risks are time and product-market fit but rapid prototyping and frequent user testing can buy you more of both. This panel will be discussing how to build a toolset to perform iterations-as-experiments quickly that will vet the features of the minimum viable product. Great applications can and do fail when hurried feature development results in a bloated and confusing application that lacks the clarity of a well defined MVP. Validation of your features through testing will allow you to minimize the resources spent on failed ideas. The Lean Startup movement has given us strategies for finding a minimum viable product and we will build on those with concrete design and engineering practices for running experiments to prove the value of your ideas. This panel will show how to go beyond the simple launch screen to quickly prototype your feature ideas and gather user feedback during each iteration cycle of your product development resulting in actionable feature stories that will take you to a well vetted MVP.

Learning to Place Little Bets

    In today’s world, success comes through experimentation. Software firms, engineers, Fortune 100 companies, even Chris Rock get this. Yet, the advertising industry is obsessed with planning and developing the big, perfect idea. How can you change this culture to one where the notion of placing lots of little bets becomes the natural way of working? Panelists will include Peter Sims, author of “Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries”, Tim Malbon founder of Made By Many and Gareth Kay, Director of Brand Strategy at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners

Your Story Sucks! Saving Story In The Digital Age

    Stories are held up as the saviour of the world by authors, filmmakers, marketers, public policy makers, game designers, musicians, artists, product designers and just about every person connected with a creative industry today. The problem is, they don’t really work. Do they? For every Harry Potter, or Twilight, or American Idol that captures an imagination, there are thousands of ARGs, trash fiction, and ‘integrated marketing campaigns’ that are ignored and unloved. Yes, good story could help you. But only if it’s crafted to fit with a different world. Only if it’s written to fit the user’s life, move at the user’s pace, respond to the user’s whims – and a whole lot of other stuff we’ll save for the session. In this session, three storytellers from different backgrounds share the results of in-field storywriting experiments from standup to novel-writing to radio plays. They’ve tried it all, and are going to try and explain what works. This is not a panel – think of it as a three-man show. A theoretical session, with practical homework – straight out of BBH Labs.

The new digital/traditional “hybrids”

    Traditional and digital agencies have been trying to learn each other’s games for years, without much success. However, in the last few years, a new breed of hybrid creatives and planners have emerged who are able to bridge the divide. They are at work and making progress inside both types of agencies, building a new future where the distinction between traditional and digital becomes irrelevant.

4 Chief Innovation Officers Defend Their Titles

    Recently there’s been great debate over the merits of elevating someone within a creative agency to the role of Chief Innovation Officer. Skeptics are lambasting the title for being a vague, flavor-of-the-month buzzword that does more to seem innovative than be innovative. Chief Innovation Officers and the businesses that employ them say the role’s essential to instilling a culture of innovation and pioneering new platforms and processes. In a boxing style event, we’re hosting three rounds of friendly debate and asking 4 Chief Innovation Officers to defend their titles. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble. In the blue corner are 4 of the most respected and influential Chief Innovation Officers in the world. They’ll be on hand to tell you what their title really means, what they do all day and their secrets for being effective in their role. And in the red corner, it’s the skeptics. If you’re curious or have doubts about what Chief Innovation Officer is or does, here’s your chance to put them on the spot and force them to answer the tough questions about their titles.

Information Architecture for Interaction Design

    No one would think it delightful to see a beautifully rendered building fall under its own weight. To avoid such occurrences, architects assure that a building is structurally sound and can support the expected usage and growth of its “users”. Interaction design is a similar: build a weak structure and even the most delightful content and function will fail to deliver satisfaction. We have all experienced beautiful designs that fail. Everyday actually. By taking strategic steps towards providing structural strength within our digital spaces we can make the world a better place for everyone. The focus of this talk will be on what an interaction designer really needs to know to evaluate the strength of their design solutions. The goal being to create a better understanding of the value that great information architecture can bring to the creative process.

Skynet vs Mad Max: Battle For The Future

    Forget the hype surrounding the social web for a moment, what about something a little further out? This talk will paint a picture of two possible futures, along the way asking the audience to help decide in 2012 if either has a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming a reality. Choose between: 1. Brands and users operate in a future-perfect environment of algorithm-driven, sublime relevance, where no nanobyte of data is wasted. Brands display artificial intelligence – becoming, in effect, self-aware – able to determine without human intervention how best to serve their customers. This leads to a glorious future of zero spam and delightful indolence amongst humanity as AI machines do all the work.. for now. OR 2. Brands and their users seek to fight for discovery and serendipity. Attempting at every juncture to circumvent the algorithmic tramlines laid down for their own good. Co-creating an open web with benevolent, politically neutral technology partners and real-world spaces where tech simply does not penetrate, this is the Wild West, 2050.