We're headed to Austin to present on the future for brands in Cuba, Gen Z and gender, and food trends.

The Innovation Group is gearing up for a packed schedule at South by Southwest Interactive. We’ve organized two panels—covering the future of Cuba and how Gen Z thinks about gender—and will participate in a third, covering the latest trends in food.

If you’re headed to Austin, we hope you’ll join us:

Generation Z and Gender: Beyond Binaries?

Friday, March 11
3:30PM – 4:30PM
Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon J

Featuring:
Shepherd Laughlin, Director of Trend Forecasting, Innovation Group

Today’s teenagers, known as Generation Z, have grown up in a world of unprecedented gender fluidity. Same-sex marriage is now a fact, transgender models walk runways, and Miley Cyrus says she doesn’t “relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy.”

What does this mean for brands? Drawing on new data, the Innovation Group’s Shepherd Laughlin speaks with innovators from creative industries about evolving attitudes on gender and an age-old teen desire: the quest to find an identity that feels authentic.

Hashtag: #GenZGender

Chromat - Runway - Fall 2016 Fashion Week
Chromat Fall 2016 during New York Fashion Week at Milk Studios, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Thomas Concordia/Getty Images for Chromat)
Chromat - Runway - Fall 2016 Fashion Week
Chromat Fall 2016 during New York Fashion Week at Milk Studios, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Thomas Concordia/Getty Images for Chromat)

Culinary Innovation: Tracking Food Trends

Saturday, March 12
9:30AM – 10:30AM
The Driskill, Maximilian

Featuring:
Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director, Innovation Group

Keeping a close eye on trends is important to professionals across the food landscape: media, restaurants, producers, brands, startups and event organizers, just to name a few, all need to know what’s next in food and drink to stay relevant and build successful businesses.

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group, joins panelists to discuss how to spot food trends and implement them in your work. The group also asks whether the food world itself is a trend, and what its place in popular culture will be in years to come.

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Culinary Innovation: Tracking Food Trends

The Promise of Cuba

Monday, March 14
12:30PM – 1:30PM
Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon K

Featuring:
Todd Copilevitz, Digital Strategy Partner, J. Walter Thompson Atlanta
Michael Nelson, Head of Innovation, Mirum Reading

Buzz is heightening about Cuba, as President Barack Obama plans to visit and half a century of Cold War estrangement from the US looks set to come to a close. With that, the brands are moving in. JetBlue and Airbnb are already there—with many more set to follow. Yet, for all the promise of this 11 million strong market, there are real challenges. Only 1 in 5 Cubans has a phone, and only 5% of Cubans have broad access to the internet.

In January, the Innovation Group led a research team to Cuba to explore what these changes mean for brands, interviewing more than 40 Cubans who work in fields from tourism to technology. How will brands navigate this burgeoning new economy and its infrastructural challenges? What defines the Cuban consumer and how will it evolve? The panel will also include selections from an original documentary shot in Cuba during the research trip.

Hashtag: #FutureCuba

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The Promise of Cuba