SXSW Interactive 2016: Your WGSN cheat sheet


Next week, hundreds of thousands of delegates will descend on the beautiful city of Austin, Texas for the 2016 edition of SXSW Interactive – the go-to event for tech and innovation. In recent years, it’s become a key event for the fashion industry too, as well-dressed attendees dash from room to room in search of the next big insight into wearable tech, AI, IoT and much more. If you’re planning on joining in the brain buzz, the meet-ups, the coffee queues and the line to see President Obama’s keynote this year, here’s our super-easy edit – one panel to pick each day.

How Fashion Is Making Tech Wearable



Friday March 11th, 12.30-1.30pm, Westin Austin Downtown, Continental 1-2

Start as you mean to go on by diving straight into the wearables debate. Decoded Fashion founder Liz Bacelar and Uri Minkoff, co-founder and CEO of Rebecca Minkoff, kick off the SXstyle schedule to explore the still-awkward meeting of fashion and tech, and discuss which fashion brand will win out in this space.

IoT: A Thousand Touchpoints of Marketing?

Saturday March 12th, 9.30-10.30am, Sheraton Austin, Capitol Ballroom

Deon Newman of IBM Watson Internet of Things joins Derek Myers of Coca-Cola and Samantha Holland of IPG Media Lab to consider how marketing and branding can figure in the IoT – where every object and surface could become a touch point for brands. A hot and potentially fraught topic that will soon be top of mind for anyone in the tech space.


SoftBank Robotics

Your Future Life With Robots: Explained

Sunday March 13th, 11am-12pm, Austin Convention Center, Next Stage

An interactive session with Pepper, SoftBank’s lovable service robot. As one of the key topics of the week, AI and the threat of robots will be hard to avoid. Make it fun by going to see Pepper and learning first-hand what robots can do, how they can help, and how they might develop in the future.

Design & Tech Report

Monday March 14th, 12.30-1.30pm, JW Marriott, Salon E

John Maeda is back with his second annual trends report on the intersection of design and tech. Maeda has a unique view point, at the absolute centre of where design and business meet, and this session promises a statistically-rigorous, thoughtful overview of the business of design.

Why Happiness Is Hard And How To Make It Easier

Tuesday March 15th, 2-3pm, Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D


Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of meditation app Headspace, will close out the conference with an exploration of mindfulness and the human condition. After a week of brain overload and futures hype, it’s sure to provide a welcome final thought.

THE CURATED CITY: Check out our Austin City Guide for the low-down on where to eat, drink, shop and re-fuel while in town.

BRAIN BUZZ, EDITED: WGSN’s reports from SXSW Interactive, available shortly after the conference closes, will explore the key takeaways, design futures insights and top ten tech launches. So even if you weren’t there – or even if you were – the key info will be at your fingertips. Sound good? Join WGSN.


Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.