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Exploring Tech Trends: Insights from SXSW 2024 with Dr. Maximilian Lude

Merilyn Tammaru

Greetings from Austin 🇺🇸! This year's SXSW once again lived up to its reputation, pushing boundaries in knowledge, broadening perspectives, and inspiring innovation as reported by Dr. Maximilian Lude, Bachelors Program Director and Professor for Business Innovation & Strategy at Tomorrow University.

In this blog, we'll dive into some of the key discussion points from futurist Amy Webb, CEO of Future Today Institute’s, as presented in her annual tech trend report— a presentation that Maximilian found particularly enlightening for its focus on the intertwining of technology and creativity as key drivers of future innovation.

South by Southwest is a conference dedicated to helping creative people achieve their goals, and a celebration of the intersection between tech, film, music, education, and culture. As a visionary in technology trends and innovation, Maximilian translates this eclectic mix into actionable insights for the next generation of leaders at Tomorrow University. His takeaways from the conference underscore the critical role of integrating creativity with technological advancements to drive meaningful change. Here are some of the key topics discussed during Amy Webb’s presentations:

Navigating "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt" (FUD): In an era dominated by FUD, particularly around technology and especially AI, Amy Webb emphasises the importance of adopting a positive outlook and embracing the transition.

AI as the "Everything Engine: AI's role as a General Purpose Technology (GPT) was a central theme. The discussion ranged from the necessity of ethically licensing AI software to the potential threats of unsecured AI. Yet, the consensus remained optimistic about AI's ability to enhance various industries.

Connected Ecosystems form the second general-purpose technology: Here the punchline was that Language Learning Models (LLMs) will transform from predicting what to #say next ➡ to what to #do next. The rise of Connectables - which is "the network of interconnected devices that communicate and exchange data to facilitate and fuel the advancement of AI" - will lead to a bunch of bizarre devices that will enter the market in the next few months. Some of them will last, some not. What directly popped up into his mind was an old concept in innovation literature, describing industry evolution and dominant designs. We are in the performance phase, having more entries than exist (like the TV set example in the figure).

The Biotech Frontier: Biotechnology, as the final point of Amy Webb's Trend Triangle, is poised for a significant leap forward. The concept of Organoid Intelligence (OI) – biocomputers crafted from brain cells – was a standout, hinting at the untapped potential of biotech innovations.

A landscape image showing the city of Austin, Texas, USA.

Department of Transition: As we navigate these transformative times, Webb suggests establishing a "Department of Transition" to manage ongoing change and creating a space for outdated business practices to gracefully retire (a "hospice for business"). This approach, aligned with the ethos of Generation Transition (Gen T), underscores the critical need to adapt and innovate in an ever-evolving world.

These insights from Amy Webb’s presentation highlight how these emerging trends are set to redefine industries and societal expectations, paving the way for an era where innovation and creativity seamlessly converge for the greater good. As SXSW continues to inspire and inform, it's clear that we're on the brink of significant technological advancements and societal shifts. Maximilian’s takeaways from the event showcase the growing need for creative thinking and innovative solutions to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.

About Dr. Maximilian Lude:

Dr. Maximilian Lude, Professor of Innovation & Strategy and program director of Responsible Entrepreneurship & Management at Tomorrow University, focuses on the nexus of innovation and marketing, including business model innovation and innovation culture, with a particular interest in SMEs and family firms. His work is published in reputable journals like Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and the Journal of Business Research. Additionally, Maximilian contributes as a reviewer and editorial board member for several academic journals. He also leads Philoneos GmbH, a Munich-based consultancy specializing in strategy and innovation for family businesses. Read more about Max’s work here, and follow him on LinkedIn here.

Join us at Tomorrow University to explore how you can contribute to shaping the future of technology and society. With programs led by experts like Max, you'll gain the knowledge and skills needed to make a positive impact in a rapidly changing world. Learn more about our courses and how you can be part of the next generation of leaders driving progress and innovation.

Merilyn Tammaru
Merilyn Tammaru

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