SXSW Moments: Change is Coming

The Forrest Four-Cast: June 13, 2019

Did you miss something at SXSW 2019? Want to relive the magic? Look to this space over the coming weeks for links to video and audio replays of some of the most incredible experiences from this year’s event.

Like death and taxes, change is inevitable. You can embrace it or fight it; it may lead to progress or despair. But whatever your cause or mission, get inspired on how to make change for the better from SXSW 2019 speakers.

Be Fearless
When National Geographic Chairman Jean Case set out to investigate the core qualities of great change makers, past and present, from inventors to revolutionaries, she found five traits they all had in common. They weren’t wealth, privilege, or even genius. It was that they all made a big bet, took risks, learned from their failures, reached beyond their bubble, and let urgency conquer fear. Hear her share a mix of storytelling and strategy, practical tips and inspiration, to teach individuals and organizations how to put these five principles to work so that they too can spark the sorts of remarkable breakthroughs that change the world.

So You Want to Be a Change Agent: A Survival Guide
Most organizations are designed to preserve good ideas and implement them at scale. So it comes as little surprise that organizations are horrible at nurturing new ideas and embracing the future. This is why it’s so difficult for individuals with new ideas to advance them effectively inside organizations, or even within a team. This presentation by Carmen Medina, who brought meaningful change to the CIA during her 32-year career at America’s spy agency, offers practical skills to not just overcome organizational obstacles, but to prosper and succeed as a change agent.

Building Authentic Movements in the 21st Century
In an age when movements are as common as a tweet, the struggle to ensure their authenticity, value and commitment to the people are unclear. This blurriness is not just a detriment for the dissemination of the intended message but can cause extreme harm to the folks it intends to serve. So how to create a movement that is relevant, impactful and authentic? After 15 years of working with young leaders, the organization Young People For has found the secret sauce. Hear keys to authentic movements from some of their stellar alums who have created movements.

The Death of Curiosity and Innovation
Companies loses millions because they fail to innovate curiously. Organizations actively avoid failure, the unknown, and radical thinking: the foundation of explorative science. Dr. Elliott Hedman, who received his Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab, shares stories from his time at MIT and IDEO on how explorative science died. What will it take for companies, universities, and society to shift towards messy, playful learning, to become curious again. Dr. Hedman’s startup, mPath, aims to bring science and design research closer together and build to empathy between businesses and the people they serve.

First Principals First: How to Solve Hard Problems
What does it take to solve a really hard problem and what part does using first principles play? As we face a world of increasing complexity, the ability to solve the “unsolvable” may be the difference between a surviving culture and a thriving one. Panelists from Microsoft, Google and MIT discuss solving problems and projects with great technical uncertainty, which require multi-faceted teams, and why this mindset is necessary to improve the human condition, impact sustainability in a positive way, and move us collectively toward an inclusively abundant future.

Behind Every Breakthrough is a Better Question
Children and some of our great business leaders share one powerful trait: they ask obvious questions about why some things are the way they are. As we grow, we often see questions as an indicator of naiveté, inexperience or poor performance. But what if asking the right, catalytic questions can lead to breakthroughs that dissolve barriers to thinking, limit prior assumptions and unleash creative energy? Learn how finding better answers starts with asking better questions.

The Economics of Equality
Dr. Alaa Murabit, UN High Level Commissioner for Health Employment and Economic Growth, provides a fresh perspective on the existing and emerging global challenges plaguing the world, arguing that inclusive socio-political spaces are the solution to disrupt these challenges and to re-envision a much brighter and prosperous future for all. Based on hard empirical evidence, stories of everyday people changing the world, and her own personal experiences, Murabit will inspire today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. She was named a 2017 “Forbes 30 Under 30” for her work in global health policy.

More Memories from SXSW 2019
Urban Mobility
It’s Time for Sports!
Saving the Ocean
Military Matters
Women’s Health
Social Media Power
Telling New Media Stories
Marvel’s Magic
Future Health
May the Fourth
Women in Tech
Growing Unicorns
Thriving at Work
Making a Difference
Fighting Fake News
Disaster Response
Hacking Democracy
Pete Buttigieg
Kara Swisher
Arlan Hamilton

Do these audio recordings inspire you to get involved in a SXSW session next year? Enter your forward-thinking speaking proposal for March 2020 via the SXSW PanelPicker. Speaking proposals for next year’s event are accepted via this interface from July 1 through July 19.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.




Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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Hugh Forrest

Hugh Forrest

Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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