Cannes Lions 2018: Mike Cooper & Oliver James tell us how to unlock our creative side

On Day 2 of Cannes Lions 2018, Cooper, Worldwide CEO, PHD Worldwide, and James, author & psychologist, The School of Life, discuss how the obsession with data and technology is reducing creativity

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Jun 20, 2018 12:26 PM Updated: Jun 20, 2018 12:26 PM

While the present-day obsession with data and technology may have its pros, it is said to have led to a reduced focus on creativity. Day 2 at Cannes Lions 2018 saw Mike Cooper, Worldwide CEO, PHD Worldwide, and Oliver James, author & psychologist, The School of Life, coming together to speak about unlocking the creative side in us by understanding the different selves within our own personalities.

Cooper kicked off the discussion by touching on the industry’s excessive focus on tech and data.

“We at PHD decided that it was time to re-focus on creativity. The industry is hypnotised by marketing, tech and data in the drive for greater efficiency. There is a major focus on programmatic and data across the industry. Brands and agencies are risking over-targeting consumers in some ways. That has taken focus from the fundamental levers of growth which are innovation and creativity,” said Cooper.

He contended that the real big drivers of ROI are creativity and innovation, something which has been backed by many CMOs.

“Data and tech, while essential, are just a part of the solution,” said Cooper. He believes that the industry needs to show diversity of thoughts, process and most importantly talent.

“Agencies should start thinking of neurodiversity. Even conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD, autism can help individuals to see things in a more visionary way,” he opened up.

Cooper feels that creative agencies have always been populated by "unusual" and "colourful" individuals. “Clients don’t want us to be like them. They don’t hire us to be an image of themselves,” he explained.

James shed light on spotting and sparking creativity and its organizational nurture. He had a view on how to spot true creativity in people, and, beyond the well-trodden clichés, how to unleash it.

His key message was, “To be creative in your business, individually or collectively, your childlike capacity for pretence and play must be nourished both by you and the organization in which you work.”

Speaking about how to foster an environment for optimizing creativity, he suggested, “One way of doing this is to include matrix other than profit in performance review like how often have you made a colleague smile in the last week?”

James opined that while it’s not easy in today’s world, organizations must make employees feel safe and make them feel valued. “This will help them relax and let their imagination play,” he lets out.

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