A Health Innovator’s Guide to SXSW 2016

Perspective by: Claudia Perez, Ascension Seton Innovation and Technology Commercialization Team 


Claudia Perez (@ClaudiaPerez_RN) from Seton’s Innovation and Technology Commercialization team is a veteran SXSW Interactive goer. She offers this advice for first timers, of which there will be a few from Seton this year.

  • Pre-register to event lounges (Samsung, Google, etc). They are free.
  • Strap on comfortable shoes, charge your cell phone and bring a water bottle.
  • Plan on arriving at around 8:30 a.m. Early arrivers parking at the Four Seasons pay $15 and $20- $30 after 9:00 a.m.
  • Never miss the keynote speakers. Worth standing in the lines for.
  • Pick up your badge at the Austin Convention Center the day before the event if you can. Or you can get it during the event.
  • The Convention Center is the Hub but every big Austin downtown hotel is involved and their conference rooms are in use for focus areas on health, film, food, innovation, gaming.
  • The JW Marriott will have the MedExpo and science sessions. It seems like the place to be but branch out if you can because there’s more to see.
  • There is now a social innovation hub, some crazy robotics things, and 3D printing.
  • Sometimes just following the crowd works too!
  • When you’re there, watch for new names to follow on social media. You can find out about cool presentations and make lasting friends by following key people on Twitter.
  • Download the event app and star * people you want to connect. Find out who had starred you, too and seek them out.

Health Innovation Gems to Watch For

Keep in mind SXSW can feel like a madhouse and it’s overwhelming at times.  Make peace now with the sessions you’ll have to miss. It’s impossible to see it all.  Pick your gems and know that sometimes gems are not gems. When they’re not, you can walk out and check out another room.  The best experiences can result from coincidental collisions with cool talks and cool people.

Here are the gems Claudia looks forward to seeing and recommends for those interested in health innovation this year.

Use these guidelines to plan OR do not plan anything and see where it takes you. Either way, it is AWESOME!