SXSW Interactive Announces 2019 Innovation Awards Winners

Innovation Awards Westworld

The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals (March 8-17, 2019) recognized the most exciting tech developments in the world with its 22nd annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards ceremony Monday evening.

Chicago-bred comedian and writer Beth Stelling emceed this year’s ceremony, which celebrated finalists’ and winners’ multifaceted and diverse ecosystem of technological achievements and creative work.

Thirteen awards and six special honors, including Best of Show, People’s Choice, Breakout Trend of the Event, Speaker of the Event, Meme of the Year and the David Carr Prize, were presented to esteemed innovators for exceptional work spanning categories from AI & Machine Learning, to the ever-evolving world of Smart Cities, Transportation & Delivery, Music & Audio Innovation, Health, Med, & BioTech, Speculative Design, and more.


Awarded for the best essay submitted from high school, undergrad, or graduate students, Jordan Holtzer was this year’s recipient of the David Carr Prize. Created in 2016 to honor the late David Carr, a friend and great contributor to SXSW and the journalistic community, Holtzer’s essay was written based on the writing prompt 2050, Warmer Global Temperatures will Lead to…


Honoring those exceptional innovators whose work has helped shape the connected world and who continue to guide the direction of the digital industry, this year’s eight SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame inductee was Kimberly Bryant, Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the face of technology by introducing girls of color to the field of technology and computer science with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts.

A panel of judges comprised of industry peers and experts selected the winners based on four criteria: creativity, form, function and overall experience, except for the People’s Choice Award. SXSW Interactive attendees voted for the People’s Choice Award at the second annual Innovation Award Finalist Showcase on Saturday, March 9, where the 65 finalists had the opportunity to exhibit and demo their work.

“The Interactive community would like to congratulate this year’s winners for their exciting work and break-through innovations,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer, SXSW. “We look forward to many upcoming achievements from the 2019 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards winners.”

As I revisited HBO’s SXSWestworld website I discovered an easter egg I had not known about before. If you attempt to grab a screenshot (on a Mac (Command + Shift) You will get a distorted disturbing alternative message.

“Your world was built for me. People like me. Not for you.”

Innovation Awards Westworld



AI & Machine Learning

Honoring digital systems which have the ability to adapt to changing data, stimuli, and circumstances; replicating learning, problem solving, and cognition.

Health, Med, & BioTech

Honoring the new technology that best improves the quality, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care in health and medicine.

Innovation in Connecting People

Honoring the best new way to connect and communicate with others.

Music & Audio Innovation

Honoring 2019’s best device or service that changes and improves the way we listen to and enjoy music.

New Economy

Honoring those redefining the exchange of goods and services, from the sharing economy, to virtual currency, to micro-finance, to mobile-device-payment systems, and beyond.

Robotics and Hardware

Honoring the hottest new advances in the field of robotics & hardware.

Smart Cities, Transportation & Delivery

Honoring innovations in eco-friendly or sustainable energy, transportation, delivery and IoT technology, making life in the connected world a smarter, cleaner, greener, and more efficient Internet of Everything.

Social & Culture Impact

Honoring the best new projects and technologies that focus on social & cultural impact and encourage communities and individuals to participate in and contribute to the betterment of society.

Speculative Design

Honoring the best new work that uses design to re-think products, systems and worlds and address the challenges, opportunities and possibilities of the future.

Student Innovation

Honoring the student with an exceptional interactive technology project or startup; both of which are the future.

Style & Wearable Tech

Honoring content creation and delivery that moves beyond passive viewership by providing a more immersive and engaging entertainment experience.

Innovation Awards Westworld

Visual Media Experience

Honoring content creation and delivery that moves beyond passive viewership by providing a more immersive and engaging entertainment experience.


Honoring the new hardware that revolutionizes the convenience, comfort, functionality, efficiency, and fashion of having a device literally “on you.”


Special Honors

David Carr Prize

  • Jordan Holtzer

Breakout Trend of the Event

  • Confronting an Era of Digital Distrust

People’s Choice Award


  Best In Show

For a complete list of SXSW Interactive Innovation Award finalists and winners, visit the following:

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