Ricky Vazquez, Director at Ogilvy PR and now Cannes Lions winner reflects on his first time experience of the worlds biggest festival of creativity.
“I didn’t know what to expect as I packed my skinny jeans, shades and after-sun and headed over to France for my first experience of Cannes Lions. Whilst fully expecting to see bearded hipsters mingle effortlessly alongside coiffured grey haired execs, I landed with an open mind and keen anticipation of what awaited.
Day 1 and notepad in hand, I headed over to the Palais for a taste of thought provoking presentations and exceptionally strong coffee. I was drawn to 2 main themes during the week-long event. Firstly, the fostering of a winning mentality in the pursuit of success. Secondly, the development and embedding of a corporate culture centred around innovation.
In regards success, it was refreshing to hear many a senior exec talk about the importance of coping with failure in your journey. As one agency leader put it “failure – accept it, encourage and champion the experimental mind-set that’s led to it. In time, success will be yours”. Many chipped in with other ingredients not to be forgotten, including the importance of killing the “rockstar mentality” that sees success gravitate around a small group of people within the business. I would add the importance of empowering juniors within the agency, particularly in the pursuit of fresh and innovative thinking. The irony that these wise words were being vocalised by a mix of middle-aged ‘rockstars’ was not lost on me…
In this wonderful industry of ours, success is often connected to innovation. Pushing the boundaries of “normality” in the pursuit of discovery is what makes good marketers and good campaigns, great. But what steps can you take to foster a more innovative culture within your business?
There were commonalities in many of the opinions expressed, some more surprising than others. Most surprising of all was the idea of a constantly refreshed workforce. Whilst a recruitment policy driven by a desire for churn seems at odds with common sense, there does seem to be a groundswell of supporting evidence. That said, I don’t envy the copywriter tasked with singing the praises of an uncertain future in the recruitment of new talent.
Less controversial was the importance placed on establishing an agile and collaborative mind-set, ‘despite’ and not as a consequence of your existing corporate culture. One senior figure talked about the need for these smaller teams to be measured not by the success of an idea but rather the frequency of idea development, a metric I think we will be seeing more of moving forward.
I return home with an unexpected sense of enlightenment, having listened to and spent time with some of the most interesting and insightful people in the industry. Whilst I may not agree with everything I’ve heard this week, there is little doubt that creative and innovative thinking can be nurtured if you build the right conditions for it to flourish… Whether both will be replaced by an algorithm or a ‘creative bot’ will undoubtedly be the headline theme for Cannes 2017. Bring it on!