Kim Bartowski's Cannes Diary #1

Berlin.jpgKim Bartowski (right), creative director and associate partner at IBM iX is representing Australia on the Cannes Creative Data Lions jury. Bartowski, along with most of the other Australian and NZ jurors writes exclusively for CB.

"The automation or self-acting machines tool has within itself an almost creative power... there is no operation of the human hand that it does not imitate." William Fairbairn, 1861

On my long trip from Sydney to Cannes, I spent some time in Europe with my husband visiting friends and family before I arrived at the Palais. We toured Berlin, Malta and Gozo, much of the UK, Guernsey and the Isle of White, and Brussels. The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, UK held my attention and that's when I wrote this quote down. This isn't the first time we've had a technology revolution in business that has shaken our reality of what's achievable. The 19th century catapulted us into a livable future of sci-fi and mixed reality unlike any we'd ever seen. Hugh mechanical beasts worked alongside men and women in factories that produced engines, cotton mills and new modes of transportation. These new machines helped to increase jobs and required skilled labor, giving humankind the ability to take a mental leap forward in business and in home life, creating household items of the future like the electric steam iron. The iron produced steam - the magic needed to flatten a crease - creating an effortless effect for the housewife. In fact, the chore was so easy she could sit down will doing it, as if the iron would do all the work itself.
HumansAndMachines.jpgIt's been almost two centuries after the industrial revolution ushered in a new reality, and we're still writing advertising copy to help convince us the machines are going to do the work for us. The quick and easy magic button we can all press to give us more machine-enabled-free-time.

I reviewed over 450 creative cases in the last 4 weeks for the Creative Data Lions, where creative teams have tried to give Brussels.jpgdreams more substance with the added benefit of data, science and technology in much the same grand way as the steam iron improved the experience for its chore. Some took the road of mass producing creative ideas, where the machines assisted in the creative assembly process, achieving huge volumes at speed and scale. Other teamsCaskIronWheelMolds.jpg sought to remove fear and doubt from our daily lives: super powering our human senses, giving us the ability to stay awake while we drive, or identify the perfect gift for a loved one based on the smell of a memory. A few courageous creative visionaries tried their hands at building alternate realities for us to live in that no longer require a headset and head phones to navigate. They exist in our current state of reality, life-like personalities of politicians and IndustrialRevolution.jpgWaterWheel.jpggangsters that are so real you might consider voting for them as your next president.

The variety of creativity and ideas was of high caliber and it was an honor to be a part of the jury team for one of Cannes more innovative categories. In watching and reading about all the work submitted, I Cannes.jpgwas struck with an odd thought. Many of the creative projects probably took a similar amount of time, effort, and money to build. But would it last? Technology lets us accomplish enormous tasks with breakneck speed. But will the idea last? Is it worthy of transcending today and still being relevant for many tomorrows? Is it innovation that matters for the world? Do we need more ways to produce more stuff in mass, or are people desiring for brands to bring us new experiences that engage our minds with all this new-machine-enabled-free-time we have on our hands?

That is one of many questions I intend to discuss with the group tomorrow morning when we meet for the first time face to face. 

2 Comments

Jimmy said:

"giving us the ability to stay awake while we drive" - FINALLY! I'm sick of all these fucking sleeping drivers.

LC said:

Nice thinking Kim. It's great to see a big picture / existentialist angle brought to this process. Will the ideas make our lives better, will they last? whether its industrial or technological, the 'revolution' was and can only be driven by substantial ideas.

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