Innovation Awards

Explore this year’s most transformative and forward-thinking digital projects at the Finalist Showcase, then celebrate the winners at the Innovation Awards Ceremony at South By Southwest®.

SXSW Innovation Awards Winners - SXSW 2019. Photo by Miguel Esparza

SXSW Innovation Awards Winners - SXSW 2019. Photo by Miguel Esparza

About Innovation Awards


The annual SXSW Innovation Awards recognize the most exciting tech developments in the connected world.

Innovators and creators from around the world are invited to enter their eligible projects to vie for top honors in this unique, long-running South By Southwest® competition. Finalists will be selected to demonstrate their projects for SXSW attendees and the Innovation Awards Finalist Judges at the SXSW Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase.

Past winners include MasSpec Pen by the Eberlin Lab at The University of Texas at Austin, Maestro: Empowering VR Storytelling Through Social Collaboration by Penrose Studios, Swarm AI by Unanimous AI, HBO’s SXSWestworld by Giant Spoon, Aira – Visual Interpreter for the Blind by Aira, and Butterfly iQ by Butterfly Network.

Meet finalists at the SXSW Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase and then celebrate the winners during the Innovation Awards Ceremony.

Applications for 2022 are now closed.

2022 Categories


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

Innovation in Connecting People

Honoring the most forward-thinking ways to connect and communicate with others.

Music & Audio Innovation

Honoring the most innovative devices or services that change and improve the way we listen to, compose 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 & Hardware

Honoring the most remarkable new advances in the field of robotics and 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 and 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 exceptional student projects and startups that focus on interactive technology for the future.

Visual Media Experience

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


Honoring breakthroughs in augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology including the application of new hardware or software which truly make the virtual a reality.

Wearable Tech

Honoring the new hardware and software that revolutionizes the convenience, comfort, functionality, efficiency, fashion and overall experience of wearable devices.

Application Overview


Applications for 2022 are now closed.

Application Deadlines & Fees

Early Entry June 29 – August 19 $75
Regular Entry August 20 – November 14 $175

All deadlines end at 11:59pm PT. There will be no late entry period.


A project or product entered into the Awards must have launched or have been completely redesigned in calendar year 2021 (between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.)

For Awards eligibility, “launched” may mean any of the following things:

  • When a discovery is made, when a scientific paper is published, or when a patent is approved;
  • When a physical device is made tangible, (i.e., a prototype);
  • When the applicable regulatory body (FDA, FCC, etc.) approves a product or procedure for use;
  • When the product is made commercially available; or
  • When a project is publicly released.

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