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eurobest 2017’s Most Innovative Ideas


The newest and whizziest projects evaluated by the festival’s Innovation jury

eurobest 2017’s Most Innovative Ideas
One component of this year’s eurobest festival in London that particularly caught our eye was the opportunity to peek behind the curtain at juries’ deliberation processes as they consider entries in public. Day one offered delegates the opportunity to sit with the Innovation jury as they weighed the merits of the category’s shortlisted entries.

Deeming it worthy of sitting through a gruelling four-hour session of presentations for, LBB’s Alex Reeves headed into the bowels of Victoria House to retrieve insights into the most cutting-edge ideas put in front of the festival’s juries. 

The Original Brushes Of Edvard Munch
Client: Adobe
Agency: Abby Priest Stockholm, Sweden

What if you had the chance to paint using the brushes of a master artist whose work is celebrated in galleries and museums worldwide? That’s the opportunity that Abby Priest Stockholm’s ‘Original Brushes of Edvard Munch’ gives Photoshop CC users.

To meet the brief of encouraging creative professionals to use Photoshop CC for digital painting, as well as to attract new users, the agency collaborated with the Munch Museum in Oslo and digitized a set of over-100-year-old original paintbrushes of Norwegian master painter Edvard Munch, creator of the ’The Scream’.

“We gathered information about bristle type, age, density and flexibility, to create the most exact replica possible,” said creative director Oskar Hellqvist to the jury. They then photographed each brush in 360 degrees. “It was really important to photograph the surfaces that actually met the paint, because that’s really where the brush is mainly working,” he said.

Collaborating with Kyle T Webster – the world authority in making Photoshop brushes – they created the brush set from this data. The brushes were then made available to download for free, exclusively on Photoshop CC.

This even led to a competition in which they challenged artists to create a new version of ‘The Scream’. Check out the winning entry here and watch a live stream of Kyle painting his own version here.

One juror noted: “As an agency you improved the product with a phenomenal creative idea. So what’s your business model? I think it would only be fair to reward the agency on a different scale.” Naturally, Oskar jokingly agreed that would be a great idea, but noted that they’ve been working in many areas of Adobe’s business for several years and are happy with their relationship. 

Another juror recognised that: “It’s interesting how you’ve managed to bring great works of art into a very modern medium. And I can see this being of great interest to different cultural institutions around the world.” Oskar responded that this project was designed to be bigger than one execution, so watch out for more fascinating collaborations of this nature.

The Humanium Metal Initiative
Client: IM
Agency: Åkestam Holst Stockholm, Sweden

A project that turned more than a few heads in Cannes this year (and won a Grand Prix) made an appearance in front of eurobest’s jury too.

Peter Brune, IM Swedish Development Partner’s Head of International Development, presented the project, explaining the many ways their initiative is repurposing the metal from deconstructed weapons, transforming materials with the potential to kill into a valuable commodity.

Peter noted that turning weapons into something useful “has been done since biblical times [‘swords into ploughshares’, etc.]. But we can offer a full supply chain.” They now have numerous industrial partners, allowing them to certify quality and facilitate the procurement process for companies looking to create products out of Humanium – whatever they want. For example, TRIWA Watches will be available made from the material, retailing for €200 each and raising 15% in royalties to help communities suffering from the effects of gun violence.

Peter updated the jury on the project, which is now looking to opportunities with 3D printing following their striking a partnership with 3D-Hubs, an online service for ordering custom 3D printed and CNC machined parts.

A full international rollout is expected during spring 2018.

One juror was curious about how the price (€200 per kg) compares to ordinary steel. “Ordinary steel is very cheap,” said Peter. “We are selling at a very expensive price, but we can guarantee it is true Humanium.”

Another juror asked whether they had considered adding Humanium onto the commodities exchange and Peter said they had. “We are a very small team, but there are so many opportunities.” This project looks like it will run for a long time.

Client: Swisscom
Agency: Heimat Berlin, Germany

UNIT9 Creative Director Yifei Chai’s presentation about #SnowDrawings made the project seem elegantly simple. For the World Ski Championships 2017 in St. Moritz, they transformed fans’ digital messages of support into one huge drawing in the snow - the size of 16 football pitches.

Easy to understand, but actually making that happen involved some very clever innovation. They needed three autonomous snow blowers. “We didn’t create these snow blowers,” Yifei made clear. “These are off the shelf. But we did do extensive hacking to make them autonomous.” They added remote control functions, two military-grade GPS systems each (to achieve accuracy to 2cm) and two cameras each. That required some pretty serious robotics expertise for this, so they turned to the stars of TV destruction spectacular Robot Wars (where else?) to find the right “robot maniacs” for the job.

They weren’t going to go as far as to give their rovers flying capabilities, which meant the whole art piece needed to be one continuous line. So they created a bespoke font that made for unbroken yet legible writing. 

Swisscom hosted the website where people could submit their messages of support and also provided the 4G technology that covered the frozen lake with signal.

“We hacked these snow blowers to the extent that the makers wanted to buy them back so they could figure out what we did to make them autonomous,” revealed Yifei. Another surprising outcome was how long it lasted, untarnished by footprints – two months until the snow melted. “People really respected this,” he said.

The jury loved the physical-digital combination that Yifei described as “phygital”, particularly praising the power of working with a medium as ephemeral as snow, as well as “creating evergreen artefacts” like the font, which lives beyond the campaign. They felt it could have powerful implications for communicating around issues like climate change.

When one juror asked how scalable the project is, Yifei said it could definitely be bigger – all of their code is available for anyone who wants to attempt it. “If you had infinite space to draw on it’s definitely doable,” he said. “But it turned out that we had to work on a lake because on land, even the slightest bumps would mess up the GPS and the rovers. Also, when we tested on land it would cut into the grass and look super messy.” So theoretically, all someone would need to create a bigger version is a bigger frozen body of water.

KPN Safe Lock
Client: KPN
Agency: N=5 Amsterdam, Netherlands

KPN, the Dutch telecom company, came to N=5 with a problem they wanted to help solve – the alarming trend for road accidents caused by people using their phones while cycling. “You can do a communications campaign, but the problem is probably much bigger than just telling people they shouldn’t be doing this,” said Niels Pel, N=5 strategist, to the jury. People agree that using their smartphones while cycling is stupid. “But they still do it,” he said.

Having done research that shows the irresistible power of kids’ curiosity, the agency decided the only option to make the roads safer was to shut down the whole network. They experimented with iOS and realised it’s not possible without the user interacting willingly – “the children won’t do it by themselves,” said Niels. One option was to turn on flight mode, but it seemed that users would still be able to turn this off at will. The answer was in their client, who provided the network. KPN told them “it’s technically challenging, but it is possible.”

People only interact with bike locks at the beginning and end of a journey, so they provided the perfect signal to shut down the network. Thus the idea for the Safe Lock was born. 

The Safe Lock connects to a Safe Lock app on the child’s phone via Bluetooth. When the bicycle is unlocked, it sends a signal to the app. The app then sends a signal to the KPN network, which will temporarily block all data and voice communication to and from the child’s smartphone. When the lock is closed again, a second signal is sent from the lock to the app, and the app notifies the KPN network to enable all data and voice communication to the smartphone again. 

This was an entry in the Early Stage Technology sub-category, so it’s definitely a technology to watch. The Safe Lock is about to enter a pilot stage, and N=5 hope to launch the project in early 2018.

One jury member who lives in Amsterdam added that the power of this project is that all bikes in the city use these locks already. Users don’t have to learn a new behaviour for this to work. 

“You managed to convince the client to turn off the very product that they sell,” stressed one impressed juror – testament to the agency’s relationship with KPN.

The jury commended N=5 for a project that could potentially save lives. But one juror noted the potential it could hold for our lives more broadly. “We want to shut off the outside world and we want time to think, to communicate and create as human beings. Having a device like this in every meeting room and office around the world would be a dream.”
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LBB Editorial, Thu, 30 Nov 2017 15:57:20 GMT