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Notes from the 2019 Cannes Lions: CreativityJune 18, 2019

BCW's Global President Jim Joseph Reports from the 2019 Cannes Lions

I’m here in Cannes, France for the annual Cannes Lions awards. If you’ve never been, it’s a dizzying mix of sun, beach, rosé and creativity…in reverse order. While I don’t come every year – because it’s just too much! – I find it immensely inspiring every single time I do come.

This year is no exception.

I attended a few sessions yesterday that were hyper-focused on creativity, which is the point of the whole festival. Creativity. Engaging with audiences. Building brands. Breaking through new territories. Creativity.

One of those new territories is AI, artificial intelligence. Several panels explored the role of AI in creativity. I was hooked.

In one of the panels, this compelling question was asked: Are creatives embracing AI or are they intimidated by it? The answer: both. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I can see where the answer is indeed “both.”

I get it. It’s intimidating. The notion that machines can take over our work is intimidating. The notion that machines can do our work better than us is even more intimidating. But can machines be creative? That’s where it’s not so intimidating. Machines can’t be creative without human input. AI just makes us more creative.

The truth is that all technology can be scary when it first hits us. It feels overwhelming and foreign. But then as you get used to it, the technology becomes more familiar and weaves more naturally into our world. Once we master a new technology, it indeed makes us better each and every time.

The same is true of AI. AI probably isn’t creative, per se. But we can use AI creatively. It can save us time. It can help us predict the success of our creative. It can help us customize our creative.

That’s not intimidating. That’s inspiring.

AI is simply a part of our world of creativity now. As is the use of collaboration tools. We now create creative within a global community of file sharing and co-editing in real time. While we’ve never created alone, we’ve reached an entire new level of co-creation where multiple teams are working on the same concept at the same time across geographies and time zones. Like with AI, cross collaboration like this requires that we give up some control.

Intimidating? Not at all. Inspiring! How cool is it that we can work together to create something even more powerful as we tap into a diverse field of thinking that crosses cultures and mindsets. Like with AI, real time collaboration helps us to save time, predict our success and customize our work. Combined with AI, we’ll reach new levels of creativity.

It all works to help us be even more creative. Which, at the end of the day, is what we are here for. Not just at Cannes, but in our everyday work.