Seed is excited to announce that two brave colleagues will be traveling into the future… by way of Austin, Texas.
That’s right, our very own Rob Cherry and Troy Geesaman are jumping into the proverbial DeLorean and heading to the SXSW Conference, where they’ll explore the “2050” programming track. This new track focuses on long-range and big-picture thinking that pushes the limits of what is humanly possible—promising to provide ample insight into the future of our rapidly evolving world.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with these terrific time travelers before they set off to bend the space-time continuum.
What made you decide to travel into the future?
Troy: It’s just the right time for an adventure! We’re emerging from a pandemic, spring is just around the corner, and it feels like there’s an intriguing mix of hope and anxiety that begs us to take a warp-speed ride to 2050.
Rob: I agree, Troy. There’s so much to look forward to—why not stop looking and just go there already? It seems like the perfect time to visit the future and see how things shake out for us.
Why do you think it’s important for Seed to explore infinity and beyond?
Rob: Working in innovation, we’re always operating with the future in mind—anticipating needs and ultimately designing new products and services that help improve lives and grow businesses. Communing with fellow futurists in 2050 feels like a great way to feed that mindset, make some new acquaintances and dip into that unique “scenius.”
Troy: Rob is exactly right. We’re always staring ambiguity in the face and helping our clients plan for growth as they lean into the great unknown. Getting a peek of “what might be” adds to our intelligence-gathering as we mark out a trajectory from the present day to the brave new world of the future. As we like to say at Seed, it’s only called innovation if you’re first.
What excites you the most about the future?
Troy: The possibilities. It’s been said that society has advanced more in the last 150 years than in all the previous years of human history combined. Technological advancement is seemingly exponential at this point. So, we must look at what’s to come with wide-eyed excitement and wonder!
Rob: I’m always excited by the opportunity to make things better for people and the planet. I believe that talk of the future is always a great litmus test for someone’s outlook. Are you fundamentally optimistic or pessimistic? Are you imagining—and working toward—a utopian or dystopian society? There’s obviously room for a pragmatic middle ground, but I think the work we do necessitates an optimistic outlook. Even if it’s incremental progress, we’re still trying to create a future that’s ultimately “new and improved.”
This will also mark your first live conference in a while. How are you feeling about mingling up-close-and-personal with other humans during your voyage?
Rob: It feels like it’s finally time to get out from behind the screen and safely experience some multi-sensory interaction, unbuffered conversation and head-to-toe fashion—not just everyone’s best “Zoom shirt.” For all the focus on technology at the conference, it will be the human element that matters most, even if it’s ultimately supported by AI. It’s also heartening to see that SXSW is taking smart measures to keep attendees safe.
Troy: Personally, I’m feeling eager and expectant! Coming out of the pandemic’s isolation to the jam-packed glorious mayhem that is SXSW is going to feel like The Twilight Zone—in the best possible way.
What sights, sounds and experiences do you think will capture your time and attention?
Troy: SXSW is a feast for the senses, so I know there will be lots of bright, shiny and loud stimuli. I’m most intrigued to see people engaging with it all. We live by the principles of human-centered innovation, so observing reactions from delight to disgust and everywhere in between should be quite interesting and educational.
Rob: Food is a constant interest and concern in any era, so I’m super intrigued by presentations like “The $7 Billion F-Word”—about the cost of ending world hunger—and presentations about plant-based and non-traditional food sources like insects. We’ll also want to stay fit and vital well beyond 2050, so a visit to “The New Frontier of Extending Lifespans and Healthspans” sounds like a must, as well.
Any last thoughts or things about your journey that you’re looking forward to?
Troy: Since Austin is all about keeping it weird, it seems like the perfect place to jump in a spaceship to the future. I’m really looking forward to exploring the event and the town
Rob: Me, too! I’m hoping to have some time while we’re there to catch performances by groups like Aeon Station, the Dream Syndicate and Shooks—possibly while drinking Shiner. That combined with what I learn at SXSW will definitely help make sure I return to the present time a happier and more inspired person.
Thanks, guys. Have fun, stay safe—and bring back snacks.
Adam Siegel is the Editor of The Accelerator and VP, Creative at Seed Strategy, where he draws upon his diverse experience in advertising, research and innovation to craft breakthrough creative and winning concept copy.