For more than a decade, argo Creative Director Eric Wicks has contributed to the digital design landscape as a judge for the SXSW Innovation Awards. It’s given him the chance to evaluate the creativity of world-class designers and recognize some of the most exciting advancements in the industry, not to mention a front-row seat to one of the most renowned conferences in the world. Here are a few of his recommendations for 2024.
SXSW has done it again and shoved an incredible amount of programming into a compressed amount of time. On top of that, the search function on their website is… less than ideal. So I’ve pulled together a few highlights that I think are worth bookmarking.
Having said that, the best way to experience SXSW is just to show up. Wading too deeply through schedules will ensure that you miss the action. Play things right and you can ride the wave. If you’re not feeling a session, it’s ok to bail—there’s plenty of other stuff going on. Oh, and never miss an opportunity to snag free snacks from the sponsors.
Even if you’re only at the conference for Interactive, there is overlap with other tracks, so make sure to check out crossover sessions that can be accessed with your Interactive badge.
On to the picks!
Friday, March 8
Featured Session: Design in Tech Report 2024: Design Against AI
A yearly tradition. Microsoft’s VP of Design and Artificial Intelligence John Maeda talks turkey. This talk is well worth the time for anyone wanting to contextualize the evolving role of design in technology, and how AI challenges and transforms this landscape. His unique perspective combines technology, design, and business, with his track record as a “humanist technologist”.
Saturday, March 9
2:00pm — 5:00pm CT
SXSW Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase
Explore the work of, and get hands-on with, the top finalist projects at the Innovation Awards Showcase. With categories like Interface, Product, Urban Design, and even WTF (What the Future), you’re sure to find something (or multiple things) that interest you.
Sunday, March 10
11:30am — 12:30pm CT
No Algorithm for Culture: How Humans See What AI Can’t
I am a big proponent of AI’s potential for augmenting human intelligence and creating new ways for us to leverage the insane amounts of data and information we’ve created over the course of recorded history. However, I also like to look at the other side of the equation. What are we missing by using these tools that promise to make our lives better? This talk has the promise to cover the other side of the argument along with remarks about what makes culture.
Monday, March 11
6:00pm — 8:00pm CT
SXSW Innovation Awards Ceremony
Near and dear to my heart. Check out the winners of the 2024 Innovation Awards. The ceremony not only honors those who push the boundaries of what’s possible but also provides a unique opportunity to see who’s on the forefront of technology leading the charge.
March 13–15, 2024 // 10 a.m. — 5 p.m.
Design, Paper, and Ink unite to bring you some of the coolest posters the world has to offer. The booths are most often staffed by the artists themselves, who are always worth chatting up about their work.
Music Video Competition
March 11, 2024//12pm — 1:25pm
This is gold for me. Watching music videos at Alamo Drafthouse, which means incredible sound, picture, and queso. Stick around for the director Q&A afterwards for great discussions about what it takes to create some of the best music videos.
Government & Civic Engagement Track
March 8–11, 2024
Featuring conversations around programs, policy directions, and new ideas for pushing positive change. This year’s track will also cover the US elections, so compelling discussions are guaranteed.