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What You Need To Know Now: Lessons From The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

July 16, 2018 at 9:10AM
What You Need To Know Now: Lessons From The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

Every year since the late ‘40s, for a week in the month of June, the upscale-yet-quaint seaside village of Cannes shapeshifts into a satellite branch of Madison Avenue—or these days, a mash-up of Madison Avenue, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and your local doctor’s office. Well, kind of. For this week, professionals from creative industries converge on the beach, lecture halls, and the makeshift boardrooms of Cannes’ Palais des Festivals (yes, the same as is used for the more ubiquitous Cannes Film Festival) to discover the latest innovations in technology, approaches to hacking the creative process, and inspirational examples of the best and brightest campaigns from the previous year.

These days, everyone from ad agency executives to design strategists at healthcare companies to entrepreneurs with an appetite for growth, all gather with a hunger for learning and inspiration. There’s more to take in than there is time to flit between sessions, branded cabanas, and speed networking events, so just in case you missed it, we’ve compiled our essential list of lessons worth remembering—and the best ways to put them into action. 

Ready? Set. Go Create:


1. “Think Like A Challenger”: Most of us have been told to “face our fears” since the first time we climbed a high-dive (if we even made it that far). According to some of the sharpest minds at Cannes Lions, such advice is equally relevant to your work-life. “If you don’t think like a challenger, you’re missing out,” said Chuck Porter of the Crispin Agency during a live recording of Asking Out Loud, a recent podcast with The New School and Cannes Lions.

  • Now, Make It Happen: The next time you’re in a meeting and you have a creative idea you like but you’re unsure of, take a risk, share, and see what happens...


2. Prioritize Diversity—Period. Diversity comes in all different forms: ethnic, cultural, social, economic—even professional. But whatever type of diversity you might refer to, having a range of opinions, ideas, experiences, and backgrounds in the room can foster some of the healthiest workplace ecosystems—and creative output.

  • Go Ahead, Make It Happen: Hitting a wall on a project, or just want to collect opinions on a prototype? Solicit the opinion of an “unusual suspect,” someone who typically works well outside your wheelhouse.


3. Blockchain Is Confusing. But Awesome. Blockchain seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue lately; but what exactly is it, and how does it work? That’s the other fun part: it’s a shapeshifter. As a platform intended to empower individuals to create and democratize unique strings of code, it can incarnate in myriad ways, meaning you’re likely to get as many answers to the question as you are respondents. But once you break through the confusion and the hype, you get products like Akoin, rapper Akon’s branded cryptocurrency, which launched at Cannes Lions and is intended to help advance his philanthropic initiatives in Africa. Learn more about Akoin when Akon’s episode of Asking Out Loud is released! Subscribe now>> 

  • Ready To Make It Happen?: Take your cues from tip number one; fight any fears of embarrassment at being out of the loop (because, actually, most of us really are), and the next time you overhear someone talking about blockchain, just go ahead and ask them what it is, already.


4. Let’s Play AlwaysThe benefits of getting in touch with your “inner child” are touted in plenty of seminars devoted to self-improvement, but it turns out that this might not only be the case for personal growth: your professional life can also stand to gain quite a lot from giving yourself permission to just play. 

  • Onetwothree Go Make It Happen: Remove those inhibitions and turn your desk into a fortress for  your imagination. Or try out a surrealist game with a colleague or two. Or take a page from the book of Tom Donaldson and Jill Wilfert at LEGO when they discuss the benefits of play in an upcoming Asking Out Loud podcast. Subscribe now>> 


5. You’re A Boss. Own It. Wherever we sit on the office (or studio, or co-working space) floor, you’re the boss of something—whether it’s writing briefs or calling the shots for your organization’s entire marketing team. And whatever that something is, dedicate yourself to doing it like you mean it, like you’re the best person for the job—because you are. Favorite quotable from Tyler Perry on just this topic: “You will do as much as you think you can.” #goals

  • It’s Time, Make It Happen: The next time you have a key decision to make that you’re unsure of, visualize your favorite mentor. Ask yourself what they would do. Form your answer—and then replace your mentor’s face with your own. Because really, you just made that call, anyway. ;)


Looking for more essential takeaways on how you can maximize your creativity all year round? Subscribe to our podcast series with Cannes Lions and never miss an episode>>

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