South by Southwest (SxSW) is an annual gathering of creative folks, technologists, musicians, and filmmakers in Austin, Texas. It's big, Texas-style fun with interesting folks from around, and we've got some grand plans for next year's event. This is where you come in.

How you can help

Proposals are judged in part by how much support they get from the community (i.e., you). We're pretty excited by our ideas, and you can declare your support by voting and/or commenting on the talks in SxSW's panel picker. We've listed the talks below, and each title is linked to the picker. Just click on the talks you like and vote em up. It's quick, and mostly painless. Thanks!

Software Alchemy and the Arc of Technology

Alan Cooper

An outspoken pioneer in the modern computing era, and best known as the “Father of Visual Basic” and inventor of “personas”, Cooper will share rare insights into the evolution of software and interaction design based on human goals and needs - and a new vision for meeting the personal and business needs of the upcoming era. In conversation with Silicon Valley legend and former DEMO producer Chris Shipley. An insider vision of how the process of software and interaction design has unfolded over the last 25 years, and how lessons learned from that process can be applied to a compelling business case based not on traditional manufacturing but on a model of software design - bringing effectiveness over efficiency.

Healing Healthcare: Notes from the Front Line

Susan Dybbs with Graham Hughes MD; SAS, Ryan Panchadsaram, Pipette; Maggie Breslin, Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinic

Communication breakdowns, system failures and expensive, often misguided procedures, are common and symptomatic of our unhealthy healthcare system - a system that will not be healed by a single solution. Many companies and organizations are trying to tackle the problems of this complex ecosystem. But who can be the beacon to guide the way? Who can provide the innovation and the infrastructure to get it done? While startups can design solutions outside the confines of timid regulated bureaucracies, large healthcare organizations have the influence and customer base to move the industry and alter regulations. This panel will explore the barriers to healthcare innovation as well as highlight how these barriers can be overcome. We will discuss how to use cross-sector alliances to seed innovation into reality, illustrate the importance of clinical trials and describe how to navigate the labyrinthine reimbursement system to bring products to market.

Building team chemistry in baseball & technology

Doug LeMoine with David Bairstow, Thomson Reuters

Making a great product isn’t really all that different than making a World Series run. In both cases, the organization must assemble the right mix of talent, motivation, independent spirit and willingness to be coached. The right combination of these qualities results in a team who moves faster, makes better decisions, gets to better outcomes, and has more fun. None of this is easy, but it’s do-able, and we’ve assembled some vivid examples of how to do it right (or wrong) from things we know well: design, finance, and baseball. We’re going to discuss the tools and practices that we use to ensure that our teams are talented and high-functioning, and we’ll draw inspiration from our own roles in assembling design teams at Cooper and in building mobile products at Thomson Reuters. What role do performance-enhancing drugs play in product development? Tune in to find out.

The Visual Interface is Now Your Brand

Nick Myers

Like it or not, the digital world has changed at a wicked pace and more and more interactions between companies and customers now happen via an interface. Careful consideration of the software's design is of paramount importance to any company wishing to grow their customer base or loyalty. At the center of this change sits the user experience, which has become a huge influence in how customers perceive a company's brand. Traditional marketing principles and practices aren’t effective in software. So how do you create an experience that is usable, desirable, and still stands out? Myers, an interface and brand specialist in design, marketing, and development for 16 years, will highlight the differences of software from other forms of media, you’ll gain insight for creating a truly unique experience that guides executives and teams, and can influence your company’s culture. You’ll learn new techniques such as defining the ideal experience, exploring first impressions with visual language studies, and designing signature interactions. These techniques build a memorable experience that’s hard for your competitors to mimic and your customers will fall in love with.

Zoom! Interfaces! Presentation!

Chris Noessel

One of the most exciting presentation techniques of the last several years at conferences like SxSW, TED, and others around the world is the zoom interface. And why not? They let your audience fly with you between the superstructure of the Big Idea and the telling detail. They turn motion into information. And they lay thoughts out to be seen, considered, and poked at. It’s a way of presenting that matches the way people think, and makes the presenter’s thinking more clear in the process. They advance thought. Chris Noessel has been giving such presentations using custom software since 2002 (notably with the Make It So series of presentations at SxSW), and now that commercial software is available to do much of the same thing, it’s time to see him lay bare the secrets and techniques.

Cultivating a Better Life with Design

Kendra Shimmell with Brian Stone, The Ohio State University; Alexa Andrzejewski, Foodspotting; Teresa Brazen, Adaptive Path; JooYoung OH, Ziba

How can we become more intentional about the design of our "everyday" environments and interactions in order to cultivate better relationships, experiences, and the direction of our lives? Great designers and innovators share an innate curiosity, carefully studying the world around them, taking cues from a variety of cultures and disciplines, to inform the design of great products and services. That same attention should be paid to the cultivation of our life experiences. How can we take our design practices and recycle them back into our personal and family lives? A better life by design. Our panelists will share their stories; their techniques for the careful cultivation of their life experiences. We'll show how to bring your personal and professional worlds together into a more symbiotic relationship. We’ll show that there are clear sets of tools and principles learned from our professional lives—and how to best apply these tools in your life.

No More Mr. Nice Guy: The Skeptic’s Role in Design

Suzy Thompson

In creative, collaborative environments, a great deal of time and energy are focused on keeping everyone working together harmoniously. Positivity and can-do attitudes are in, criticism and judgments are out. I call bullshit. With all this attention on getting along, we’ve lost sight of the vital role of critical thinking - leaving clients, users, and the integrity of our profession hanging in the balance. This session will turn a critical eye to the world of design to examine the dangers of today’s kum-ba-ya approach to collaboration, and dive deep into the crucial role that skepticism plays in successful design practices. Covering everything from the basics of why, how, and when to inject a healthy dose of skepticism into your design process, to advanced collaboration techniques for getting the most out of your most critical thinkers, this session promises that even if you walk in a believer, you’ll leave a skeptic.

Women's Wisdom for a Connected Century (interaction category)

Tamara Wayland with Christie Dames, TechTalk; Suzanne H. EL-Moursi, SapientNitro; Lauren Serota, Frog

How can smart, ambitious women use the lessons of feminine tradition to move a into world where the old rules, written and practiced largely by men mentoring men, have been redrafted by women mentoring women -- a natural reaction to a system that was so badly broken, it no longer worked for either sex? Learn how the lessons and role models of our grandmothers and other women of an earlier era can help us move into new techniques and visions of mentoring for the 21st century - both for women and men.

Women's Wisdom for a Connected Century (music category)

Tamara Wayland with Hesta Prynn, Hesta Prynn; Emily White, Whitesmith Entertainment; Ashley Capps, AC Entertainment

How can smart, ambitious women -- and men -- use the lessons of feminine tradition to move a into world where the old rules, written and practiced largely by men mentoring men, have been redrafted by women mentoring women -- a natural reaction to a system that was so badly broken, it no longer worked for either sex? Learn how the lessons and role models of our grandmothers and other women of an earlier era can help us move into new techniques and visions of mentoring for the 21st century - both for women and men.