SXSW 2019: Three Trends We Saw and Loved
Each year, SXSW draws hundreds and thousands of people to Austin, Texas to learn, explore, and create the what’s what of innovation across industries. This year, Vida was proud to be a part of the Wellness Expo, an exhibition solely dedicated to companies and attendees interested in health and wellness.
Much like the hustle and bustle of the main conference in downtown Austin, the event featured new technologies, entrepreneurs, and attendees from all walks of life — with just a few more protein bars and CBD products thrown into the mix.
Here’s what we learned!
Health In Your Hands
SXSW is proof of the growing rise in the number of individuals that want to take their health back into their own hands. The Wellness Expo this year illustrated that people are breaking from passive considerations of health and are looking for organizations that can enable them to find empowerment in their bodies and choices.
Booths offered products that were specifically designed to be brought into consumer’s lives easily. Whether that was through a digital application, like Vida, or through a home garden or healthy oven-ready meal, the focus was on offering solutions that felt achievable and supportive in the long-run.
We saw this trend on the stage as well. Our own CEO, Stephanie Tilenius, spoke to a packed crowd about the importance of finding habits that work based on your given circumstance and environment. Alongside Dr. Mark Hyman, Stephanie spoke about how she’s seen Vida members’ lives transformed through the power of finding a rhythm that actually works for their reality.
The idea of considering how a person’s daily food choices could be used as a tool to reduce chronic conditions particularly resonated with the crowd. After Stephanie and Dr. Hyman spoke about the transformative effects they’ve seen at both the Cleveland Clinic and Vida, a doctor in the crowd was moved to stand up and share his efforts to include more nutritious food in his hospital’s cafeteria. He explained how he felt unhealthy food was undercutting patients health progress.
At Vida, we’ve realized that how you eat influences how your body feels in both small and large ways. Nutrition can be used to reduce stress, reverse diabetes, and decrease hypertension. One of the key takeaways from the panel was that, really, health isn’t just in your hands — it’s also in your stomach.
A Diversity of Perspective
One of the most amazing aspects of the conference was the convergence of companies and individuals working towards a common problem with very different solutions. The umbrella of “wellness” throws much shade, and we were lucky enough to experience a diversity of approaches that collectively endeavored to improve people’s health and physical conditions.
Some of the other innovations that stood out to us included reimagined caffeine in the form of an inhaler pen and Lettuce Grow, a company enabling individuals to grow fresh food in their own home.
Similarly, on the panel, we experienced the diversity of perspective from both Stephanie and Dr. Hyman, discussing different ways to come at the challenge of sustainable health and wellness both from a technological, consumer education, and patient care point of view.
In exploring both the Wellness Expo and the broader SXSW conference, one can’t help but find motivation and feel empowered to make a difference in their health. It was a true testament to how creative we, as a society, truly can be when our energy is devoted to a cause for positive community change.
We’re All Marching Together
While organizations employed a diversity of approaches to encourage wellness, it was simultaneously clear that the industry as a whole was united in its vision.
For example, many conversations centered around ways to get people motivated to start creating healthy changes in their lives, and to build in a system to stick with those new habits. Both Dr. Hyman and Stephanie agreed that community can be one of the biggest influencing factors in healthy habit change.
They both talked on the panel that not everyone will have the same cultural expectations of food, or even access to it. However, the panel emphasized that while people’s environment may differ in terms of what food feels available, everyone has the ability to tap into a community. Both Vida and the Cleveland clinic seamlessly integrate the idea of community into their programs. However, it’s an idea that’s available to everyone, regardless of background. As the crowd discussed during the panels Q+A, some lean on church groups, others turn to hospital staff, friends, or families to create networks that enable individuals to gain access to better foods for their body.
Our panel, as well as the conference as a whole, emphasized that these networks and changes don’t have to be huge. This is a philosophy that’s reflected in Vida’s programming. We encourage our clients to start with small realistic changes and then build on them. Your community should help you remove the pressure to do it all, and instead help you find ways to make exercise and eating healthy fun. Community can often allow you to rise above the social determinants of health and help you reach your goals in a way that feels sustainable and authentic.
We at Vida believe that no component of our health exists in a vacuum. We are whole humans, with whole lives, each piece of which can play a part in our overall health in wellness. We believe in treating the underlying conditions and behaviors – from daily habits to our mental health. (PS. You should read about our new Habits feature and Sleep Program here!)