Eric Cruz, Executive Creative Director at AKQA, spoke at Goafest 2017 about the future of creativity and the challenges that Asian agencies and marketers are facing as the region comes to terms with the changing environment.
Referencing the tsunami that devastated many Asian regions back in 2004, Cruz said that there is a tsunami of change heading towards us. “The future is like it (tsunami); scary, baffling, and unpredictable. We are at what is perhaps the most creative moment in history. Many agencies and companies will die out because of irrelevance but there is also a fear of change,” he said.
He mentioned Pablo Picasso's quote about children; he said the problem was that somehow we unlearn how to be creative when we grow up. He queried whether Asians were any less creative than the West and what caused us to take lesser risks. Talking about the history of the region, he noted that this was not always the case.
According to Cruz, certain factors are now stopping Asians from achieving their complete potential in the creative fields. These include the social system prevalent in Asia. “Most of us subscribe to a Confucianist hierarchy wherein age-old wisdom trumps curiosity and creativity,” he said. Other factors include religion, lack of critical thinking, obsession with academics, less dialogue due to presence of a number of languages, Asians being more insular and introverted, etc.
“The law of accelerating returns is getting faster and faster. It is getting more and more difficult to predict the future. In 10–20 years, 47 per cent of our jobs will be redundant. Sixty per cent of kids today are being educated for jobs that do not exist. The schooling system has not changed in 250 years since the industrial revolution,” he said.
According to Cruz, since we live in the information age, the currency that everyone wants to control is data. For him, the successful creative thinkers of the future would be those who question everything, destroy hierarchies, challenge the status quo, embrace failures, and invest in chances.
“The world is not static and neither should we be. Always think like you are in the beta stage. Create your own opportunities. Imagination and creativity are the new weapons of mass disruption; transform from a manufacturing mentality to a creative mentality,” he said.