Houston, Texas, 11 March 2018

The future of Travel: TUI @ SXSW

South-by-Southwest Interactive Festival is the leading conference on digital disruption in the world. Pernilla Edelsvärd, Head of Customer Experience and Martin BystedtHead of User Experience at TUI Nordic are on location in Houston, Texas, to collect ideas, share thoughts and hunt for the future of travel. On LinkedIn, they blog about their experience in the US, we have a summary:

Day 1:

A couple of days ago, I was sitting on a plane waiting on the runway for a flight from Copenhagen which was delayed by heavy snowfall. Sitting in my seat I was thinking about the impact of the ever changing environment I have navigated throughout my career. In different industries, small and large companies and in all the countries I have worked in the digital has always been altering the scenes for businesses. With the melting snow running down the airplane windows I figured the only constant has been change. 

This change needs to be fuelled by creative minds and people that think different. Is there any better place to find these people than at SXSW in Austin? So here I am at the hub of creativity and trendsetting getting my injection of inspiration that I hopefully can bring back to my team at TUI Nordic.

Today I started the day with breakfast at House of Scandinavia at a really central location bang in the middle of where it all is happening. At this meeting place I got to hang out with great people from companies like Doberman and Wayke. Then at the first session I listen to a bunch of the superstars of UX and design in a panel. The panel held interesting discussions about how design systems can help companies with growth. To hear others working with even bigger design challenges than I am used to is super valuable. Getting the inspiration how to measure things like task completion and how to get all the metrics on dashboards is something that I for sure will bring back home.

Later during the day Carissa Carter, Director of Teaching at Stanford D School held a great speak about how to deciphering the intangibles in design. She was pushing that we as designers really can change our environment by understanding the complex processes of design we can leverage the outcome. Just be aware of solving a problem with design can be done in endless ways and that it might be multiple answer to the challenge. In the end what we design do make a difference and has great impact.

Day 2:

America, we have a problem! This is what Roy Spence, an Austin profile, screams out loud when hiking the Cypress Mountain. Today America is experiencing that people are more divided politically and culturally than ever and it is a huge problem that has to be fixed for the future and it will be done with finding the purpose.

Second day at SXSW and Austin is balmy and pleasant that just want you hang out and play but the topics of the day were more on the serious side. A connecting line of a lot of the talks are how we as humans and companies should take more responsibility and that we need to, for real, think about the purpose of the services and products we create.

Roy Spence has for a long time been working with helping companies to become purpose driven and he believes that if you have a purpose behind making money then you will make more. A great example of this is the outdoor apparel company Patagonia. But working with purpose can also be applied to a whole country to help it to come back on its feet and this is what Roy Spence has been working hard with the lately. Today at the festival he launched his project The Promised Land to bridge the divide that this country is experiencing. The project will market America to America to unite it. The session was very emotional because it is a serious issue that has to be dealt with and to add to impression Matthew McConaughey made a surprise visit to thank Roy Spence for the work he is doing for the nation.

Later during the day, I sat in on a fantastic session with one of my idols and role models: CNN's Christiane Amanpour. That session made a large impression. Christiane talked about a project she has been working with about the situation for women around the World – with sex as a starting point, in the wake of the #MeToo. A real eye opener was to hear her speak about the absence of the wellbeing, sexual happiness of women and the stark contrasts that can be found in western countries between the women from for example Germany and the immigrants from Syria.

As the Texas sun is setting and the day is coming to an end I will first listen to a clever Scandinavian panel, with people like Cartina's Charlotte Mattfolk summing up the day and then I will participate in round-table talks, representing TUI, with people from Google and Apple hosted by Lisa Lindström and her people from Doberman.

»The meaning of life – Do good and be happy!« (Roy Spence, Austin, 2018)