Interactive Innovation Awards

March 14-16, 2020

Explore this year’s most transformative and forward-thinking digital projects at the Finalist Showcase on Saturday, March 14, then celebrate the winners at the Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony on Monday, March 16.

Deadline: November 15, 2019

Apply Now

SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony - Photo by Miguel Esparza

SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony - Photo by Miguel Esparza

About Interactive Innovation Awards


The 23rd annual SXSW Interactive 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 SXSW competition. Five Finalists in each of the 13 categories will be selected to come to SXSW next March to demonstrate their projects for SXSW attendees and the Innovation Awards Finalist Judges at the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase.

Deadline: November 15, 2019 at 11:59pm PT

Apply now to be a part of the 2020 awards.

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. See all 2019 winners below.

Enter your exciting new project for a chance to be a part of the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase on Saturday, March 14, and the chance to take home a trophy from the Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony on the evening of Monday, March 16.

Apply Now

2020 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.

Climate, Culture and Social Impact

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

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 hottest new advances in the field of robotics and hardware.

Smart Cities, Transportation & Logistics

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

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.

Wearable Tech

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


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

Entry Process Overview



A project or product entered into the Awards must have launched or have been completely redesigned in calendar year 2019 (between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019.)

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

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

Entry Deadlines

Regular Entry: Monday, September 9, 2019 – Friday, November 15, 2019 — $175

There will be no late entry period.

Application Process

Applicants may enter multiple projects or products. There will be an additional application fee for each additional project or product entered.

A project or product may be entered in multiple categories. There will be an additional application fee for each additional category in which the project or product is entered.

Please be sure your application is complete before submitting it. Entries may not be changed or updated once the entry has begun the evaluation process by our panel of judges. If you believe you have made an error on your application or have submitted the entry prematurely, please contact immediately.

Entry Fee

A non-refundable entry fee is required from all applicants who would like to be considered for the above awards categories. SXSW Innovation Awards Finalists receive 2 complimentary Platinum registrations. All SXSW Innovation Awards entrants will be given the chance to register to attend SXSW Interactive at the lowest early bird rate.

Judging and Evaluation

Each category is narrowed down to five finalists, based on the content of the entry’s application form, by a panel judges comprised of industry peers and experts. Entries will be graded by the following four criteria:

  • Creativity / Innovation
  • Form
  • Function
  • Overall Experience

Five finalists in each of the 13 categories will be announced in December 2019. Each Finalist entry receives 2 complimentary SXSW Platinum registrations (badges) to attend the 2020 SXSW Interactive Conference & Festival and exhibition space in the 5th annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase.

All 13 category winners, as well as the Best of Show and People’s Choice winners, will be determined during the Finalist Showcase on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Participation in the Finalist Showcase is required for all award consideration.

Award winners will be announced at the 23rd annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony.

Please Note: SXSW reserves the right to place applicants’ entries in the most relevant category at SXSW’s sole discretion. This includes changing an applicant entry’s category based on response to the event and/or the applicant choosing a non-relevant category.


No refund will be given to any application that has been submitted. If you have any concerns regarding our fees and/or the application process please email prior to entering an application. If you wish to register before being notified by SXSW on your status as an entrant to the SXSW Innovation Awards you will not be eligible for a refund.


All preliminary application information that is submitted is confidential and will only be viewed by SXSW staff and the selected judges.


Questions? Check out the Innovation Awards FAQ.

More Questions

Have more questions? Email with any questions regarding the SXSW Innovation Awards.

Apply Now

Finalist Showcase & Ceremony


Finalist Showcase

Five finalists in each of the 13 categories will receive complimentary exhibition space at the 5th annual Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase on Saturday, March 14, 2020 where they will demonstrate their entry “hands-on” for the SXSW community and the Finalists Judges.

The winners in all 13 categories, as well as the Best of Show and People’s Choice Award winners, will be determined during the Finalist Showcase. Participation in the Finalist Showcase is required for award consideration.

Stay tuned to SXSW News for the finalists announcement in December 2019. Award winners will be announced at the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony.

Awards Ceremony

The 23rd annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony is on Monday, March 16, 2020 and celebrates some of the most exciting innovations at SXSW. The opening reception and the ceremony provide a full evening of fun, food, drinks, and entertainment.

The lively presenters and entertainment guests make the show bounce along, as we not only acknowledge the finalists in each category and announce the winners, but we also take a moment to honor the winners of other SXSW competitions and present the SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame Award.

2019 Interactive Innovation Awards Winners


2019 Winners By Category

AI & Machine Learning

Health, Med, & BioTech

  • Butterfly iQ by Butterfly Network, Guilford, Connecticut, USA

Innovation in Connecting People

Music & Audio Innovation

New Economy

Robotics and Hardware

  • My Special Aflac Duck™ by Aflac, Sproutel, Carol Cone On Purpose & The Nation of Artists, Los Angeles, California, USA

Smart Cities, Transportation & Delivery

Social & Culture Impact

Speculative Design

Student Innovation

Style & Wearable Tech

Visual Media Experience


Special Honors

Breakout Trend of the Event

Confronting an Era of Digital Distrust

People’s Choice Award

My Special Aflac Duck™

Best of Show

Butterfly iQ

Interactive Hall of Fame

Honoring those exceptional trailblazers whose work has helped shape the connected world and who continue to guide the direction of the digital industry. Learn about our 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee, Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, Kimberly Bryant.

David Carr Prize Winner

Jordan Holtzer – “Women are Getting Hotter”
UCLA School of Law | Class of 2019

Learn More

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