I love being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry....
Social Innovation at SXSW Eco
Pioneering businesses are increasingly turning to social innovation and partnerships to tackle complex, sustainability issues that threaten the planet, but also the future of their business, which is why SXSW Eco is a key event. I am sure many of you have heard of South by Southwest® (SXSW®), which offers the unique meeting of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Though am not sure, if you have discovered SXSW Eco? A three-day conference addressing the need for a concerted, cross sector approach to solving the challenges facing economies, environment and society. In its second year, it will run from October 3-5, 2012 at the AT&T Conference Centre in Austin, Texas.
Solving shared challenges means working together with new and sometimes unusual or unexpected partners, from non-profits with different missions to competing companies within the same industry. It's these social innovative partnerships and collaborations that are proving to be a powerful way to address sustainability issues and simultaneously achieve business goals. SXSW Eco is an event dedicated to making progress towards solving these challenges.
There will be the chance to hear from panels of experts; join the debate and discuss new ways to partner, and collaborate for sustainability breakthroughs. SXSW Eco is determined to drive the conversation of sustainability beyond rhetoric and towards solutions with over 130 talks scheduled. To help lead discussions there are inspiring keynote speakers such as Lance Hosey, President and CEO of GreenBlue (not-for-profit whose aim is to make products more sustainable) and author of The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology and Design. Hosey's philosophy is firmly rooted in the belief that aesthetic attraction is an environmental must and that, "Beauty could save the planet." Other keynotes are Annie Leonard ("The Story of Stuff"), and Senator Byron Dorgan with Jigar Shah. While, other distinguished speakers include: Dr. Eric Toone (ARPA-e), Bill McKibben (350.org), Bryan Walsh (TIME), Erin Meezan (Interface Inc.) and an interactive presentation by Philippe Cousteau, Jr.
Special events are planned during these busy three days, which includes an opportunity to meet the entrepreneurs leading the way to a sustainable future at the SXSW Eco Startup Showcase. Presented by Austin Technology Clean Energy Incubator and Austin Energy this is a one-day venture capital pitch competition. It will throw the spotlight on social innovation and entrepreneurship; showcasing the best 15 clean-tech start-ups chosen from around the world. These game-changing companies are set to disrupt a broad a host of sectors within the cleantech space including: agriculture, air, energy, green building, recycling, transportation and water. Top VC and corporate investors from around the U.S. will be attending and presenting, giving these young companies an amazing opportunity to go forward.
SXSW Conferences and Festivals, is world renowned for cutting edge music, interactive, film conferences and festivals. It uses its experience in creating dynamic forums for social innovation and collaboration and is now keen to serve the sustainability community.
Photo Credit: SXSW Eco Website