news | 14 March 2024

Wrap Up: Defense Innovation Unit’s Week at SXSW 2024


The annual SXSW conference is a premier event for the defense innovation industry, and the Defense Innovation Unit  gathered in Austin last week to participate in panels, discussions and collaborations with partners from across the Department of Defense and the commercial technology sector. 

Among the week’s high points was the launch of a new joint innovation space at the Capital Factory that is positioned to enable innovation-focused entities to connect in support of DIU’s mission to rapidly deliver capabilities and maximize strategic impact. The agenda also included the announcement of a new partnership between DIU and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), a formalized agreement to leverage our respective expertise, resources, and networks to identify emerging technologies that can enhance intelligence gathering, analysis, and operational capabilities.  

“Austin is an incredible hub for commercial innovation, and that includes companies and agencies eager to come together to modernize the U.S. Department of Defense,” said Alex Goldberg. “DIU is fortunate to be a part of such a strong network of colleagues and collaborators.”

Additional panels featured Cheryl Ingstad, DIU’s Deputy Director, Digital Platforms & Developer Ecosystem, speaking on the future of funding and contracting DoD innovation; Aditi Kumar, DIU’s Deputy Director for Strategy, Policy, and National Security Partnerships sharing thoughts on the state of the defense ecosystem; and discussions on AI/ autonomy,  venture capital, and powerful conversations with Ukrainian soldiers.

Programming in the new joint innovation space included a DIU 101 panel, a talk on the joint solution talent matching platform GigEagle, a demo and discussion on transforming pilot training, as well as a live discussion with Ukrainian soldiers on lessons learned from the front lines.

For more information, here’s a look back at DIU’s full agenda from SXSW 2024

We look forward to future events in Austin with our partners. Follow us on our socials for updates. 

Doug Beck, on behalf of DIU, signing a strategic partnership agreement with ODNI.

Operators shared first-hand views on how commercial technology is reshaping the battlefield in Ukraine and is playing a critical role in future operations and conflicts.

This compelling roundtable discussion brought together prominent leaders from across the defense sector for a thought-provoking dialogue about the next steps in defense strategy and technology.

DIU and AFWERX hosted an "open door" for all DOD Office Hours at Capital Factory House.

DIU contractor Sean Anderson joined a panel to talk about the strategic importance of AI/Autonomy.

A discussion on the GigEagle talent tool.

The new DIU space at Capital Factory House in Austin.