For the third day of SXSW I found myself in more work/career-related sessions. Instead of focusing on the individual level, like the sessions I attended yesterday, today’s sessions tended to focus at the organization-level. I cam away with a lot of good ideas. The challenge will be finding a way to implement them in the organization. That can be a challenge when you’re one individual.

Session 1: Workhacking Away From Business As Usual

I’ll admit to not intending to go to this session. I really wanted to attend the session across the hall, but in true SXSW fashion it was full and I was too late to get in. So this was a backup, but it was good anyway. This was a conversation among attendees about how the culture of business is changing and needs to change. The presenters tended to default to generational differences, which was interesting. For example, Millenials typically want more feedback than their managers (often Gen X and Boomers) are used to (and want) to give. Unfortunately for the Millenials that want project-based feedback, their organizations are siloed and often not conducive to project-based work. This is a really interesting concept! If industries move to project-based structures, this would open up the possibilities for peer-to-peer feedback, and could potentially improve work flows and productivity levels. If anyone is interested in this topic, there is a Google + community devoted to the topic.

To read a recap of this presentation, check out my Storify summary at: Workhacking Away From Business As Usual

Session 2: Solo Social: What To Do When You’re On Your Own

I looked forward to this session for a couple weeks, and it did not disappoint. This was a discussion among attendees who are solely (or mostly solely) responsible for all the social media communications in their organization. There was a lot of sympathy to be had among these people – and I wasn’t very surprised to see a significant representation of the higher education industry in the session. There were a lot of tips and tools discussed, in addition to the therapy we all gave each other. Some how hearing that there are others who don’t have time to draft the strategy manuals and to assemble the analytical data they know they should be pulling is comforting.

To read a recap of this presentation, check out my Storify summary at: What To Do When You’re On Your Own

Stop! Trade Show Time.

I spent several hours walking around the trade show area. Most of the booths are irrelevant to my work (too expensive, too niche, etc.). However, I love the trade show because it is such a great resource for another thing – and I don’t mean swag (although there is a ton of that, too.) I use the trade show as an opportunity to gather different samples of print materials (magazines, flyers, etc.) to use for design inspiration for my own collaterals. I highly recommend this. And if you get enough, you can always pick up a flat-rate box from the USPS booth and mail it back to the office.

There are some perks to a trade show SXSW-style. Here are a few favorites:

Photo strip: the Pure Michigan booth; Shaquille O'Neal in a crowd; me spinning the wheel from the Price is Right

  • The Pure Michigan booth really drew a crowd, and it was great talking with fellow Michiganders from the Lansing area.
  • I saw Shaquille O’Neal (which is awesome because I NEVER see celebrities “in the wild.”)  SPOILER: He’s really tall.
  • I got to spin the wheel from the Price is Right, and I met the guy who says “Come On Down!” (It wasn’t on my bucket list, but I might add it so I can cross it off.) I didn’t win anything.

Session 3: Giving Tuesday: Inside the Sharknado of Giving

This session focused on Giving Tuesday – the two-year old movement encouraging charitable donations on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This session really got the juices flowing in terms of ideas. They are still floating around and I’m trying to wrap my head around them before I decide what actions I think I’d recommend, but I know for sure that I want to do something with the ideas that were shared. My communications work centers around non-profits, and this fits in well with our year-end giving efforts.

To read a recap of this presentation, check out my Storify summary at: Giving Tuesday: Inside the Sharknado of Giving