SXSW and the Metaverse of the Future of Work

South by Southwest (SXSW)® offers its attendees a rich, layered, and nonlinear immersive experience across multiple industries and media platforms, dedicating itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW® is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of tech, film, music, education, and culture.

Change Practitioner Chrissie DiAngelus recently attended the conference. As a mentor in the conference’s Workforce track, Chrissie met with a diverse mix of people and offered 15-minute sessions featuring mentoring on a range of topics from change strategy, communications, ways of working, future of work, and career journeys. Chrissie shared:

“It was such an enriching and immersive experience. Each person brought a unique situation or challenge. With some, I took a coaching approach and held space for them to imagine possibilities. I also co-created a case for change and a communications plan with other attendees!”

Common themes emerged that are relevant to the the future of work: curiosity, respect, mental health, public health, storytelling and design, AI, diversity and inclusion, civic engagement, and online safety.

“The intersectionality of the themes isn’t lost on me. More than an industry or a solution, the themes all point to who we are being with each other. Even AI. If the future of work is the metaverse of all of this, our curiosity around AI is a way in to drawing connections, accelerating work, and freeing us to do valuable work and advocate for what’s needed in the workforce. I’m an artist and storyteller at heart and for me, that’s time to think, to bond with my teammates and clients, to create, to coach, to share diverse stories, and to be the changes and future of work I desire.”

Key takeaways from SXSW included:

  • Getting curious about AI. It’s available to us now and it’s up to us to determine how we can use it for the greater good.
  • Diversity and inclusion is more than diverse bodies and trainings. It’s prioritizing and including diverse experiences – like mental health, menopause, parenting, elder care – in workforce and civic policies, in changes, in the stories we share, and how we consult clients on the future of work.
  • Prioritizing respect, health, and safe psychological spaces on and offline.