Davy Rennie's Unfiltered SXSW Diary - Day 4

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.00.36 am.jpgDavy Rennie, experience design director, The White Agency Sydney is covering SXSW exclusively for Campaign Brief.

Welcome to 'Unfiltered SXSW: Day four.

The crowds are noticeably smaller now. The weather can't be helping, its cold as an Eskimos nose, and rain is never more than a sneeze away. But there's something very cool about this place, very Melbourne.

Plan for the day is to see a couple of design sessions, but focus really on the activations that are happening around town.

Today's first stop: Google

Wonder Woman and Google have gotten together to create something truly immersive. As soon as you walk into the room, there's a VR wall that people can engage with, front and centre.
Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.00.21 am.jpgPassing into a room with pumping tunes, there is an artist on stage creating a 3D painting of Wonder Woman. It is like nothing I have seen before: she paints individual strokes with the Tilt controls, and walks around the enormous painting, splashing colour with unbelievable precision.

Such a crazy experience to start Day 4. This is VR done right- a fully immersive and interactive artistic experience. You don't just sit on a rollercoaster, or lay down and flap your arms like a bird. FBI's aScreen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.00.10 am.jpg fully navigable art experience that enables you to view, edit and interact with art on a whole new level.

Is this what people will experience in museums and galleries moving forward? I hope so!

AI: The Final Frontier

Now it's onto AI. And it's supposed "final frontier", the living room. I'm rolling into this one with open areas, and scepticism as I think we are only scratching the surface of frontiers.

Disruption. Clear to see now that between disruption and empathy we have two words that have been the two most overused words of SXSW.

Rethinking the home from the ground up

If you started from scratch and used machine learning and 3D printing, would homes look like they do now?

The housing industry continues to be a lazy behemoth when it comes to innovation. It's expensive, it's static, and it takes an inordinate amount of time for any developments to transpire.

To be fair, innovation is particularly difficult to integrate into a fixed design like a house. Once it's built, that's more or less the end of the story (excluding renovations and small tweaks to the interior).

We continue to build from the ground up in the same way we have for hundreds of years, but what if we didn't? What if we treated it like a UX challenge instead? What if we used a UXer and a Tech team to design a home product; a fully integrated, bespoke experience design product that fulfils all your safety and shelter needs.

We should be designing homes like we design cars, where we bring human needs, as opposed to building principles, to the fore.

The product they share is called Kasita, and it's designed to work like a shipping container home. I love this idea of using new design and fabrication methods, but it's by no means the final frontier. In fact, if we think about what has been said over the last few days with HCD, Product Design, AI and Machine Learning, it is really only just the beginning.

Product Managers Are the New Rockstars

Product design and development is accelerating, be they physical or digital products. Product managers, the panel informs us, are the way of the future when it comes to managing products, from start to finish, in this accelerating market.

Product managers are a multilingual professionals that can deal with everyone; from devs, to designers, and content teams. Product managers rally the troops, and make sure the product is on track, correct and functional.

For me, I don't see much of a difference between this "new" role and that of a project manager (although the panelists do articulate an arbitrary distinction between the two; namely, that project managers deal with the 'How & When', whilst Product Managers deal with the 'Why & How'... Please). Ultimately, this session bolsters my belief that designers need to start managing this part of the process themselves.

Designers have to know the why, and it has to tick the MVP/HCD model: Viable, Feasible and Desirable. Today's designers must be just as aware of business and customer needs, as they are of technological capabilities. The time of the multidisciplinary designer is now.

That's a wrap for day four, last day tomorrow before I head off to Vegas for Adobe Summit.

The best of SXSW & Austin:
    • Googles activation is up there in the top 5 at SXSW
    • The queues are virtually gone, which is great
    • I skipped out for some SXSW free time and went to the Texas Uni campus and their 100k seated stadium and it was incredible, for a college team!

The worst of SXSW & Austin:
    • the queue for the best sessions are still there
    • The app get annoying due to some glaring UX issues as the calendar gets busier
    • Tacos, tacos everywhere
    • Not having UBER. One of two cities in the US that Uber pulled out of.


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