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Seven Takeaways from D&AD 2018

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INFLUENCER: Jean-Baptiste Leroux on increasing opportunities and challenges living at the crossroads between creativity, data and technology

Seven Takeaways from D&AD 2018

D&AD exists to stimulate, enable and award creative excellence in design and advertising. For the 2018 edition, much of the focus was on the increasing opportunities and challenges living at the crossroads between creativity, data and technology. In this piece I’ve summarised seven key takeaways from the sessions. All words are my own. However, since no-one creates in a vacuum, thoughts from the various presentations and speakers pepper the content too (and see more here).


1) Embrace Beauty and the Beast

While creativity has long been the lifeblood of advertising and design, a new force has come to the forefront in recent years: data. While some will view data as a beast best left aside for data scientists, we must all understand that data can also be an asset for enhanced relevance and new forms of creativity. The key is to find people who can leverage the data and make it beautiful to tell a story.


2) Cherish the Techno-Creative Class

While older generations might remember the days of mad men and individual creative strokes of genius, creativity in a data driven environment offers opportunities for a new breed of talent. Seek, develop and welcome artists, data scientists and creative technologists; allow collaborative experimentation and continually learn and share new skills.


3) Own your Clients’ Problems

Own your clients’ problems proudly. The deeper you understand them and the more you turn CMO’s into a weapon for creativity, the sooner your work will drive real social relevance anchored in brand needs. CMO’s have historically short tenures but, by understanding their challenges, products and fears, you can unlock value and success for all.


4) Build for Humans and Society 

New creative teams should focus on developing enhanced storytelling rooted in the cultural fabric of society. An idea that does not provide a solution to a human need, however well executed, lacks value. The ability to harness technology and data should act as a catalyst to enable human empowerment. A great example of this was the Green Light Run for Adidas campaign where big data and algorithms were used to control traffic lights for urban runners to flow seamlessly through the city. 

5) Be a Vandal and Make Yourself Proud

We need to play, experiment and 'vandalise' more to ensure the growth of anti-fragile talent and the development of outstanding work. While moral is low in advertising and media increasingly feels too complicated, we must transform our issues into something shocking, fun and provoking to excite ourselves and create conversation with those around us.


6) Make it In-House

Whether film, audio, animation, VR/AR or software; minimise outsourcing to third parties. Make your own stuff. Bring in the right talent and nurture it to continually breed spontaneity. Learn by doing and build pride into the work you create. By building in-house, you will not only develop your own creative talents but will also retain valuable IP and ideas for the future. In this fabulous example, Goodby Silverstein & Partners produced its Dreams of Dali experience in-house, providing a bespoke Oculus Rift VR experience where visitors to the Dali Museum can walk into the work.

7) Build Partnerships to Access Future Talent

People at the forefront of modern age creativity should be educators and supporters of new possibilities. New partnerships between education, brands and agencies should be imagined and brokered to give future leaders a chance to learn by doing, working on real world problems.  

So, in short, my experiences at this year’s D&AD’s have encouraged me to stay curious, keep learning, embrace adversity, collaborate and build a journey at the crossroad of creativity, technology and data. 



Jean-Baptiste Leroux is Global Innovation and Product Director at Wavemaker Content

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Wavemaker UK, Wed, 02 May 2018 16:39:19 GMT