Elliot Kotek's 2015 SXSW Diary from Austin

Elliot-SxSW.jpgAustralian expat and co-founder of Not Impossible Labs in Venice Beach, Elliot Kotek - the recipient of last year's Cannes Titanium Lion is a keynote speaker at SXSW Interactive. He reports exclusively for CB.
My featured keynote "Not Impossible: Crowdsolving for Humanity" was one of the first announced by the festival - giving me ample time to attempt to equate how my words would be as worthy of bums on seats as Al Gore's drawled tones, the Tesla-designer's established cool-factor or Snoop Dogg's casually hemp-fueled poetry.
IMG_5396.jpgI had to remind myself that our "Technology for the Sake of Humanity" message is a good one and, even when muttered, manages to find volume.

Taking up Salons 5 & 6 at the JW Marriott - a hotel that opened a week before this year's Sx (the rumor was 1000 rooms at $1000 a night) - the hall is so big it served up a stage & two side-screens upon which I could show my slides and give myself a simultaneous dermatological examination.
The upshot of the Not Impossible model is this - we (as an industry) are constantly making and advertising things that are faster, cheaper, stronger, smaller and more powerful - those things make our lives more convenient. But, if they can make our lives easier, it must be said that on most occasions these devices must be able to even marginally improve/solve/treat/maxresdefault.jpgalleviate the hardships of the most vulnerable among us - those without physical abilities, financial means or geographical access.
I'm thankful that this message doesn't just resonate because I say so - we've been fortunate that last year's Project Daniel (backed by precision engineering company Precipart and Intel) has mustered about a billion media impressions and won One Show, AICP and Cannes Lion honors. So, my message doesn't have to exist to please those who wish to do good, or those who seek to do better, and it doesn't have to live a limited existence within marginal CSR budgets. As companies struggle to find authentic/organic/native ways to voice their message, our stories of Daniel, Tempt and Don have resonated with sincerity, and delivered the eyeballs and awards that warrant the marketing and advertising budgets that can truly help amplify a cause.
While it used to be enough to get a win-win, we're in a win-to-the-power-of-three situation.
So, when you're next putting together a campaign series, join us in this action: if appropriate, even if only for one of the spots being produced... instead of building a set or renting a studio, use a real location; instead of buying props and costumes, invest in equipment and structures that can benefit that location; instead of paying actors to learn lines, consider using them to teach locals something positive; and instead of returning everything to David Jones and Bunnings at the end of the shoot, leave it behind as infrastructure.
We get the content we need, the places we go get something valuable left behind, and our stories are filled with all the buzzwords that make industry go 'round. It's a win x win x win.

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