This was my fourth year attending SXSW and I was just as excited as my very first time visiting Austin. For me it was an opportunity to participate and listen to 31 thought leaders involved in the Porter Novelli Perspectives activation over the course of four days on topics ranging from “How Amazon Creates a Culture of Innovation” to “Teaching Old NGOs New Tricks.”  Our experts delivered insights on what trends are impacting their respective industries and how they continue to take a disruptive approach.  In total there were more than 25 different topics covered at our booth, including:

Branding, Business Clubs, Careers, Connected Home, Consumer, Corporate Innovation, Creativity, Digital, Disruption, European Union, Government, Health, Health IT, Innovation, Internet of Things, Mentorship, NGOs, Nonprofits, Passion, Purpose, Social Good, Social Impact, Social Innovation, Sports, Startups, Technology, Trends, Virtual Reality, Women in Tech

Of the outlined themes, innovation was the most common thread. I know that innovation doesn’t have the same mystique as VR, peopleware or other buzzwords. However, the terms all mentioned are byproducts of innovation.

Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” – William Pollard

Innovation was addressed in more than 75 percent of the conversations during Porter Novelli Perspectives (#PNSXSW). The surrounding dialogue addressed an overhaul of shifting the traditional model to spark greater innovation. For example, Mindcotine disrupted the model of using medication or nicotine replacement by implementing virtual reality to help eliminate the urge to smoke by changing behaviors.

Four additional interviews utilized innovation as a catalyst for change:

The Success and Challenges of an Independent Sports Agency w/ Mitch Brown, COO and partner, Agility Sports LLC

My Take: Agility Sports has disrupted the agency model and gained tremendous success building sustainable relationships while utilizing institutional knowledge.  As an independent agency composed of three executives all under 30, they have implemented a consistent, authentic model that connects to their personal brand.


Digital Disruption of Brand Voice w/ Kate Hartley, COO and Co-Founder, Polpeo and Ashley Cooksley, CSO, The Social Element

My Take: The growing impact of citizen journalism has caused brands to be more vulnerable to public scrutiny 24/7. Polpeo has been able to create a model to prepare brands to authentically respond to micro-moments to protect their footprint and voice.


Disrupting the Traditional Club Model w/ Ryan Wilson, Co-Founder and CEO, and TK Petersen, Co-Founder and CFO, The Gathering Spot

My Take: The Gathering Spot has developed a model that utilizes innovation and the power of community to curate experiences that traditional business clubs are not agile enough to offer. They intentionally select and connect members that can foster growth in their respective industries.


The New Age Acceleration for Corporate Innovation w/ K.P. Reddy, Co-Founder, The Combine

My Take: While the opportunity remains ripe for startups all of types to bring new, innovative technology to the market, at the same time, startups are being boxed into a certain Silicon Valley-defined approach to achieve success. The Combine is not an incubator, accelerator, management consultant or talent agency; they have evolved to become all of the above focused on spinning profitable startups out of existing tech companies.


These are just a few of the interviews, but feel free to visit Porter Novelli Facebook’s page to listen to more thought leaders address how they are leading change.