Convergence of the Minds: Reflections Across SXSW2018

Convergence of the Minds: Reflections Across SXSW2018

They Came, They Saw, They Spoke, They Converged.

SXSW has historically been ground zero for innovators to meet, share and set the scene for the next wave. People of various industries and leadership levels share ideas, show us their best and challenge the status quo –  the perfect conditions for convergence. Light bulbs go off, connections are made and innovation is set in motion.

That intersection of creativity, craftsmanship and cutting edge is now in our rear-view mirror, but the lessons learned are still very much on our minds here at Stout. As we close out this month’s focus on convergence, we offer these cross-platform #Stout insights on what is revealed when creative and corporate cultures come together.

Convergence by Design: Boundary-Busting Takeaways from SXSW 2018:

Everyone Has Doubts. From famous film directors to professional poker players to the current leader of the Small Business Administration, nearly every speaker’s stories included a common element: fear of failure. Some lacked confidence in their idea, others in themselves, while still others lacked resources. The key message from all of them: don’t let the fear stop you, and if you do fail, learn from your mistakes so that your next try will be better.

Anyone Can Be a Thought Leader. Akash Thakkar is a sound engineer for video games. But that didn’t stop him from delivering a smash talk on the relationship between passion and struggle. A rock-n-roll drummer delivered impressive insights about teamwork – crafted from his experiences working with many different bands. You don’t have to be an expert in thought leadership to have insights worth sharing – just a willingness to look for life lessons in whatever you do.

Put Nothing and No One in a Box. Blockchain, a technology developed for cryptocurrency, was one of the breakout stars this year. Demonstrating of the strength of convergence, the experts focused not on applications for the financial industry, but on the technology’s benefits for the creative arts. And a packed panel presentation on the “Age of Ageless” examined the skyrocketing trend towards personal and professional reinvention at any life stage. “Buzz”word on this topic: hive mind. Successful re-purposing requires flexibility and imagination; a diverse collection of open thinkers can deliver ideas about both.

Embrace All Types of Intelligence. Another conference buzzword was “emotional intelligence”. Many breakthroughs in the past have been powered by intellect, but today’s leaders in all industries are embracing the art and science of EQ. Sometimes referred to as “people skills”, EQ is what separates managers from leaders, drives successful collaboration, strengthens communication, and closes deals. Combined with intellectual knowledge, it’s a one-two punch elevates people and organizations in any discipline to a higher level.

Breakthroughs in One Realm Help Feed Projects in Another. The gaming industry is a great example of this phenomenon. Creating a game incorporates elements of screenwriting, film production, music composition and computer programming. An improvement in the recording industry means better sound quality in a company’s next game. Another cross-pollination success story at SXSW? High performance computing converging with health care to offer fast, affordable genomic sequencing to deliver more targeted treatment. Everything is far more interconnected than you think, and those who look to successes in other platforms can apply those advances to propel their own efforts.

Success Requires Convergence. Another common element among the diverse speakers at SXSW? They didn’t achieve their goals alone. When they didn’t know something (or someone), they reached out. Leveraging the expertise or connections of others isn’t a weak move – it’s a smart one. Just be sure to give back when someone comes to you.

Stout Senior writer Andrea Frost and Stout Founder and Publisher Christi Hester capturing  Stout insights live at SXSW 2018

Stout Senior writer Andrea Frost and Stout Founder and Publisher Christi Hester capturing Stout insights live at SXSW 2018

The bottom line:

One of the best ways to fuel your journey is to embrace and learn from the strengths of others – while sharing yours. Up your #Stoutness by seeking convergence with other #Stout thinkers – no matter what their area of expertise. If you missed any of the Stoutest SXSW coverage around, catch up here. And mark your calendars for March 8, 2019 – when we’ll be bringing you the best from SXSW2019.