Organizing the Open Future Series at SXSW

It's not often I get to share what I do for my clients but fortunately, SXSW is one of those times when I get to be more promotional. Taking a break from the digital/experience/transformation strategy scene, I'm organizing another series (an experience in itself) at SXSW this year for IEEE in coordination with the W3C.

It's my third year doing cause-related work at SXSW and I must say it's addicting. In 2011, I was honored to be able to establish SXSW Cares/SXSW4Japan. with my buddy, Rob Wu of  Causevox. This grassroots effort helped us raise nearly $150k in online donations (and more via text) for the Red Cross Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami fund.  Best way to spend SXSWever

In 2012 I organized three event series for the IEEE with Dean Kamen and Japanese sensation, Maywa Denki.  Our events celebrating FIRST® and inspired attendees to invest in the next-generation of innovators to Build a Better World.  It was an unforgettable and rewarding experience.

In the midst of my exhaustion, I swore I wouldn't do this to myself again, but this year, we've gone even bigger.

The 2013 "IEEE andW3C Open Future Series" will be anchored by Web Inventor and W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee and IEEE-SA President Karen Bartleson.  Our series features a total of 17 world–changing technology makers and covers a spectrum of topics including the Open Web, Internet of Things, Social Robotics, Self Hacking, Copyright and Disruptive Technologies and Augmented Reality.

Check out our schedule here.

Of course, there must be a good cause.  This year, our events also seek to build awareness for OpenStand, a global community founded by IEEE, W3C, ISOC, IETF and IAB that is dedicated to promote the principles that have inspired the exponential technology expansion, innovation and economic growth of past decades. In an era where technology is advancing faster than we can understand its impacts … when critical discussions about privacy, security, human rights, borderless commerce are occurring — OpenStand encourages technology professionals to embrace the time-tested OpenStand Principles to develop global technologies for the benefit of humanity  -- using those principles as a guide in critical discussions to keep the future open. 

In short, I'm proud to be organizing the kind of events I would personally pay to see at SXSW. I'm honored to work with such great clients and a distinguished group of accomplished and incredibly smart folks -- the people who have brought us the Internet, Ethernet, Wireless and more life changing and world-changing, revolutionary technologies.

(Incidentally - I'm also quite humbled to be the mental midget in the room.)

Mostly, I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to help conceive and organize this series for IEEE. I'm looking forward to a terrific SXSW and hoping that our contributions will make the conference even better for our attendees.  Stoked about the dialog that will ensure, and that just weeks ago, Adobe and Cisco sponsoring two of our events, including our Open Developers Meetup and private reception with Tim Berners-Lee.

Before sign off to get some sleep -- I want to introduce you to BC "Heavy" Biermann, Founder of The   Heavy Projects and one of our esteemed Augmented Reality speakers.  Heavy's work with the Ad Council and reimagining public spaces is, well -- cool, cool stuff.   We're pretty honored that, to promote OpenStand and our Augmented Reality panel, the team created (in short order!) a "Virtual Takeover" AR Demo of the Driskill Hotel for us. Here's a brief video of the demo.

You Just hold up your camera on your mobile device and an interactive virtual layer appears before you. Tear down walls — watch it animate… while cars and people pass you by. It's pretty cool.  Check out the site for more amazing demos -- like murals that have their own virtual environments!

Goodnight for now, folks!




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I’m Leigh Durst, a 20 year veteran in business, operations, customer strategy, ecommerce, digital & social media and marketing. Simply put, I’m a strategist that helps companies (start-up to blue chip) achieve business shift, create more compelling online and offline experiences. I also write, speak and teach about experience design and next-generation business. I’m a futurist, visionary, strategist, doer and connector with a passion for people and helping others. When I’m not on the road, you’ll find me in the San Francisco bay area, working, beaching it and hanging out with my family and dog.


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