Not Losing Sight of the Basics of Interactivity

No matter the new technology, there are still some age-old issues that must be tackled and they haven't forgotten that at SXSW Interactive this year. A theme running through the sessions I attended on day two of the conference was working with teams to bring ideas to reality.

Many of the people attending this conference are what you would call creatives (although some don't like that term), and creatives are not known for being very organized. According to Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance, organization is vital to making ideas actually happen, so his team has created The Action Method.

I found it rather interesting that The Action Method was not really that far from the more mystical Vision Boards that author Joyce Schwarz had talked about at her book reading the the SXSW Day Stage Cafe. I'd stopped by that one to see The Defuser make a guest appearance.

In both, it was about making your ideas happen. Belsky noted that ideas don't happen because they're great, it takes organization, communal forces and leadership capabillity. These themes popped up again in the three hour Hyper Island workshop I attended.

Hyper Island is "a digital school in an old prison" in Sweden that provides education in interactive design, communication and digital business management. At SXSW Interactive, they held their first workshop outside of Europe that presented a condensed version of their learning environment.

One of the more thought-provoking things mentioned as we discussed why designers will never get to redesign (the thought being that rather than complete redesign, there will only be continuous evolution based heavily on testing and metrics) was that public relations and social marketing are replaced search engine optimization. Think about that one a while.

Before then breaking into a discussion of group dynamics, several volunteers participated in an exercise where, blind-folded, they tried to first find a rope and then set it back down on the ground in the form of a square. It was rather funny, and no square was ever achieved, but it facilitated great conversation about Susan Wheelan's findings on the stages of a team.

So, even with all the new and emerging technology that continues to come our way, it will always go back to the basics of human behavior to make anything happen with it. And despite what the SXSW Film attendee I overheard in the elevator thinks, all this new interactive technology is not all about way to not actually interact with people.

About the Author: Laura Pevehouse

Laura Pevehouse was profiled as one of five “social media mavens” in the March 2009 issue of Austin Woman Magazine and named an AdWeek’s TweetFreak Five to Follow. She has been part of the Dell organization for more than 15 years in various corporate communications, employee communications, public relations, community affairs, marketing, branding, social media and online communication roles. From 2014-2018, Laura was Chief Blogger/Editor-in-Chief for Direct2DellEMC and Direct2Dell, Dell’s official corporate blog that she help launch in 2007. She is now a member of the Dell Technologies Chairman Communications team. Earlier in her Dell career she focused on Global Commercial Channels and US Small and Medium Business public relations as part of the Global Communications team. Prior to that, she was responsible for global strategy in social media and community management, as well as marcom landing pages, as a member of Dell’s Global SMB Marketing, Brand and Creative team. When she was part of Dell’s Global Online group, Laura provided internal consulting that integrated online and social media opportunities with a focus on Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. She managed the home page of, one of the top 500 global web sites in Alexa traffic rank, and first brought web feeds and podcasts to the ecommerce site. In her spare time she led Dell into the metaverse with the creation of Dell Island in the virtual world Second Life. Laura has earned the designation of Accredited Business Communicator from the International Association of Business Communicators, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Louisiana State University. Before joining Dell Financial Services in 2000, she worked at the Texas Workforce Commission and PepsiCo Food Systems Worldwide.