Innovation Lions: Defining Innovation with Jury Members
In the age of technology, startups and ‘innovation labs’, it can seem that the act of innovating is strictly tied to the creation or advancement of technology. But in reality, humans have been innovating for millennia, and the ad industry similarly so – just for not quite as long. So how tricky is it then for the jurors of the Innovation Lions, which is coming into its third year at Cannes Lions 2016, to decipher the entries and pick out genuinely innovative creativity? A good starting point would be to define the word itself. So LBB’s Addison Capper asked them to do exactly that.
Fred Saldanha, Executive Creative Director, Huge
Companies who cannot evolve what they do, die. Brands who take no risks end up in a museum. It’s that simple.
Markets are increasingly ruthless; consumers, evermore demanding; startups, extra aggressive. Technology more accessible than ever. And, despite the fact that they are not incentivised to change, big brands can’t afford to rest on their laurels. They must adopt a mindset of constant reinvention. And make innovation integral to all parts of their business.
Amidst the chaos of this ever-changing landscape lives advertising: an industry with no choice but to embrace these new challenges. From communication to service, product to new business models, everyone in this industry must play a role in helping to rethink – and rebuild – brands from the ground up.
Of course, many people in advertising wouldn’t know an innovative idea if it smacked them in the face. But innovation in advertising is simple to identify: it immediately becomes relevant to real people’s lives, elevates the purpose a brand in the real world, and – most importantly – solves a real problem. Real innovation in advertising works to bring a brand closer to its consumers and creates solutions for the problems in their lives.
On paper this all sounds easy, but innovation is impossible without three key ingredients: nerve, focus, and a little craziness. And these are the personality traits that have always been essential to success in advertising.
Carolina Coppoli, Head of Business Intelligence & Strategy LATAM, Geometry Global
The DNA of advertising has always been about pursuing novelties. Good work becomes old after a short time and needs to be changed. Currently, industry boundaries are shifting with the digital and technological era and new experiences are being built by other industries that were not directly related to ours. Devices and platforms are the new black and advertising is looking to express itself there. Importantly, all the data that emerges from this serves as a core asset for brands. So art is needed to provoke an aesthetic and entertaining experience along with scientific thinking to get the problem functionally solved. Innovation is about doing, not just saying. It’s about changing people’s behaviour and improving it, and so it is the place where brands should go in order to be ‘actors’ in people’s lives.
Innovation is not new. As human beings we innovate all the time when a new problem appears and calls our attention. Old problems are solved with systematic learned responses that we repeat cyclically. So, in my view, there is innovation when we approach an existing problem with a new point of view, and solve it in a creative way. We still need good storytelling and aim to improve people’s lives by providing them a new experience supported by the correct technology.
Ray Velez, Chief Technology Officer, Razorfish
Innovation in advertising is the recognition that consumers must now be at the centre of all communication efforts. Consumers are empowered through the super computers they carry in their pockets. Their new world enables them to skip traditional advertising or shun interrupt-based advertising. The best ways to communicate brand offerings is to be in service of customers. What better way to create powerful brand impressions than a delightful commerce experience or by helping consumers live better lives. That means putting space into marketing plans to test and learn by listening to data, not just customer feedback. It's about enabling innovation in a world through new and insight driven experiences and services.
Tuomas Peltoniemi, President, Asia, TBWA\Digital Arts Network
When creative agencies speak about innovation, they tend to first think about innovation through technology and innovation labs. Tech innovation is used to create immersive experiences with brands to help people experience things they have never seen before. But creative innovation is – and should be – so much more than that.
Creative agency innovation should be framed differently. It’s not only about technology, but about innovative creative ideas. It’s about creating unforeseen partnerships, innovative products and services, and crafting unique business models to solve clients’ business problems. It should also be about understanding culture and consumer behaviour, in order to develop new ideas for advertising and content that resonates with the consumers of today.
Agencies thrive on having the best creative minds in the world. These creative minds have the power to think about clients’ business problems, people, and culture from unique points of view and come up with great ideas. Innovation should be about agencies and brands partnering to create innovative products and services, never-seen-before marketing, and unique ideas and ways of working, which can make a real difference in people’s lives.