The SXSW Creativity Report, November 25

Written by Hugh Forrest | November 25, 2013

The Afghan Women’s Cycling Team makes pedaling an act of protest

The SXSW Creativity Report is a weekly collection of people, organizations, businesses, or events that have impressed us with their creativity. If you like the concepts talked about here, then come to Austin in March for the annual celebration of innovation and inspirational thinking known as the SXSW Interactive Festival.

1) Faster Cheaper Better: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Three automobile fires have pulled rocketman Elon Musk back down to earth. We have no doubt that Mr. Stark will soon overcome this small bump in the road and continue on his path for interstellar domination. But enough about space, what particularly excites us is that the hyperloop (Musk’s concept for high-speed transportation here on earth) seems to have found a company that will move the idea from vision to reality. According to a report in Pando Daily, the startup known as Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has received hundreds of resumes from geeks wanting to be part of the team that revolutionizes transportation in the 21st century. Nature may abhor a vacuum, but geeks love an ambitious plan that aims to conquer a long-standing inefficient industry.

2) Alexis Ohanian: Author and Ambassador of World Wide Goodwill

In a story about his current tour of 77 colleges to promote his now book “Without Their Permission,” the New York Times calls Reddit co-founder Ohanian “the Internet’s Own Cheerleader.” He is indeed all that and more — a tall light of optimism and good will in a field that is too often dominated by rancor and cynicism. Asked by a Princeton newspaper what excites him about in the startup space over the next few years, Ohanian remarks that the world wide web may finally achieve is global potential: “What’s remarkable is that of all the success in the last decade on the Web, the significant majority of them are American. And that’s pretty cool, because that’s one of the few industries in which America leads the world. The world still uses Facebook and Google, blah blah. This is a borderless World Wide Web, right, and so a lot of the traditional barriers to entry that would have kept us supreme don’t exist online, and I think inevitably there are going to be Snapchats or Twitters or Tumblrs or whatever that start popping up out of Berlin or London or who knows where.” See him speak at SXSW Interactive 2014.

3) Pedal Power to the People: Afghan Women’s Cycling Team

Riding a bike to work can be a great alternative to driving a car. Or it can provide a nice way to burn calories or to relax the mind after a long day behind the computer screen. But if you are a female in Afghanistan (where so many day-to-day activities that we take for granted in the west are still prohibited by law), then pedal power is a full-on act of political protest. “Afghan Cycles” is a new documentary that profiles the courage, triumphs and struggles of the Women’s National Team (pictured above). Inspire yourself to bicycle better by clicking here to watch the three-minute trailer for this incredible new film.

4) ToyMail: Connecting Us to Our Inner Child Everywhere

We love this new Kickstarter project from Gauri Nanda and Audry Hill. As context, a few years back Nanda helped design the Clocky (an alarm clock on wheels that makes waking up in the morning slightly more fun). ToyMail is an even more delightful concept — this cute wi-fi device allows children to receive and send messages. While we are always a proponent of the value of face-to-face interaction over virtual communication, ToyMail reminds us that technology has the power to strengthen all our relationships in previously unimagined ways. The Kickstarter campaign for this inventive toy expires on Monday, December 2, so get in while the getting is good!

5) Kelly McGonigal: The High Priestess of Stressless-ness

At SXSW, we have long been a fan of the creative vision of her identical twin sister Jane (who served as a Keynote speaker at the 2008 event). But the TED talk from Kelly McGonigal is making us re-think our long-held perceptions about stress. Skip today’s meditation session and spend 15 minutes learning new strategies to envision a more peaceful relationship with the issues that raise your ire.