SXSW is an annual set of film, interactive media, music festivals and conferences that take place in mid-March in Austin, Texas. It sounds like great fun, and it is. So how can you persuade your manager to approve a trip like that? At Arteric, we decided that sending a team to SXSW made good business sense. Arteric team members would see new technologies and digital health advancements and network with prospective clients.
Yet after going to SXSW, we came up with even more reasons for going next year. Any company that creates software and content, or that designs and builds experiences would be smart to send a team to SXSW. The ROI is hard to quantify, but SXSW exposes individuals to real, practical uses of new technology. Seeing, hearing, and interacting with these technologies in person is inspirational. This first-hand experience is the only way to truly understand how these technologies can improve our lives.
Inspire Passion and Creativity, and Encourage Action
At Arteric, we are passionate about the potential of technology to improve health. Sending a team to SXSW encourages the passionate conversations to continue beyond each session. New ideas can be debated and discussed and new courses of action can be created.
During every meal we had at SXSW, the conversations were about new technologies and ideas we saw or heard about during the day. That is exactly what we want at Arteric. We want to foster creativity and curiosity to explore something new, not just for Arteric but for our clients. In the past, we had debated a lot about virtual reality and how applicable it can be for digital health; but after experiencing virtual reality at the Samsung exhibit, we came back to New Jersey with 3 Samsung Gear headsets.
Arteric sent several people to SXSW, so that we could cover a wider array of amazing presentations. Arteric team members attended sessions on new perspectives for recruiting, on designing for environments without a smart screen, and on data sharing from Google’s self-driving cars. We also saw the first-time demo of the Meta 2 AR headset.
Experience & Explore New Opportunities
Over 70,000 people register for SXSW, which makes it a prime venue for companies to demonstrate and sell new products. Roughly 300 vendors had booths at the SXSW convention center. This gave the Arteric team the opportunity to explore new software that could improve efficiencies, as well as seeing new technology in use, like this cool Grid Vrick that comes out of Korea.
Yet SXSW is not confined to the convention center. All over Austin are pop-up locations that provide insight into future technologies. At the 2016 SXSW, we saw Google’s Tilt Brush, Samsung’s VR Experience, IBM’s Watson, and Krush’s Virtual Reality flight simulator.
There is no way to calculate the ROI for team bonding. But traveling together and spending downtime create a camaraderie that improves team performance in the office. It builds trust and encourages more open communication between team members.