Push Play

There are those who say Cannes Lions is an advertising festival. Others say you just party and chill. And those who claim Cannes is the World Cup of creativity. Whom to trust?

Cannes delivers – in all ways. I’ve bought the ticket and took the ride, and let me tell you: its impact is huge.

Our industry is chaotic. The breakneck speed of progress means they are bound to be some spills on the path to great work, booby trapped by human error, overambitious undertakings, malicious software and just plain dumb luck. Creative Director Carl Addy from The Mill shared insights that we should not panic when things go tits up, instead take the longer view – this is evolution at our heels, it offers a massive opportunity to become a better creative.
His keynote unleashed the first solution to our question “What’s the value of creativity?”: The change of perspective, the change of our workflow. It enables us to not fear the chaos, but to give it a warm welcome. Use the inevitable and make it your friend. The art of staying in the sweet spot of creative pressure, right inbetween of giving a shit and being a shit. The next time you are in this situation, likely soon, you reach the higher state of SNAFU: Situation normal – All F****D UP.

Speaking of Eastern synonyms: The folks of Dentsu killed my cultural blinkers with their insights of design. Examining the way designers approach design, fundamental beliefs and thinking behind design varies tremendously. The diversity in thinking provides a rich source of inspiration in all areas of creativity. Dentsu’s Yoshihiro Yagi shared 6 powerful examples of design thinking: Design is nature. Touch. Logic. Research. Culture. A necessity. One glimpse: Let an apple do the work. The story of the first organic apple farmer in Japan.
Ten years of failure – after a suicide attempt he wandered through mountains and suddenly discovered a spot where apple trees grew perfectly without any pesticides. The secret: no human intervention. The farmer adopted this concept, let old apples rot, let the grass grow, be just the conductor and let nature do the work – it’s the best designer there is. What’s the value for us? Awareness. We are not the best designers out there. Be open, do research, ask questions, use your senses, think logic and listen to your guts. Inhale and exhale.

How many times did you hear the question “Why?” while presenting you creative work? Yeah, I feel you. Ever thought of answering these questions with “Because it’s beautiful.”? Golly gosh! The road to hell – no way we can argue us out of this misery. Beauty is subjective, superficial – but we still adore it.
Stefan Sagmeister of Sagmeister and Walsh is what you would call a creative observer, thinker and maker.

#1: Beauty – part of being human. Back then when humans used stone axes to cut stuff, they build huge stone axes, showing of what they’re able to do. Too big to be useful, but impressive – beautiful.
#2 Beauty has an impact. Comparing the tweets sent from two train stations in Manhattan – one dark, tight, one light, roomy – a research institute found proof that your surroundings affect our mood.
#3 When we loose our mind, we can still recognize beauty. Alzheimer patients were shown a range of paintings, from beautiful to ugly, they had to order them using their own perception of Beauty – arranging it like people without mental illness. After visiting them again, they couldn’t remember the first meeting – but still arranged the pictures as they did the first time.
#4 Beauty improves functionality. One of Sagmeisters tasks was to come up with a solution for a dirty underpass. Instead of creating a sign like “Keep this place clean” he decided to paint the walls with a beautiful illustration of the word “yes”. The stinky underpass turned into a background for wedding pictures.
And #5: We agree on what is beautiful. Showing the audience some fake and some original paintings by Mondriaan, it was quite obvious that the majority discovered the originals. So what’s our value here? Creativity is beautiful.

Three different aspects and answers to our question – yet some new vitamins for our creative innards.

Stay curious for the second day!

Live from Cannes – Sven Kratzsch, Jung von Matt