Cannes viewpoint: The winds of change

Accenture Song Middle East's Stu Higton spells out two superpowers we need

While it may sound like a cliché title, for those present in Cannes this Wednesday, the wind was real, and the departure from the soaring temperatures and sunshine of the previous days was somewhat welcome. There was a shared sigh of relief from those with sunburned noses.

It did bring about real change. Sadly D5’s Chioma Aduba’s talk on the terrace was cancelled, along with others this afternoon, as the canvas roofs billowed in the wind and threatened to take off, whisking anyone below with them.

Shared experiences were a theme that ran through two of the talks I attended today. One focused on the use of emotion to create a connection, and the other was part of the Future Gazers series, where connection, authenticity, and storytelling were red threads running through them.

The common theme of injecting our humanity into the work resonated across all topics. Understanding that diversity starts at the core of our businesses, in the choices we make regarding the teams we build, in the representation of our audiences, and being cognizant of the bias GenAI has to perpetuate gender stereotypes, was emphasized.

We learned about two superpowers today. The first, coined by Ricard Brim from adam&eveDDB, is the superpower of “I don’t know” to stimulate collaborative solutions.

The second, highlighted by Anastasia Kãrkliņa Gabriel from Reddit, is that context is an untapped superpower sitting at the intersection of Community, Category, and Conversation.

Both of these superpowers require us to embrace our human role in an industry being swept along by GenAI. We need to inject humanity into the work, forge the context, and be vigilant for bias.

We cannot control the wind, but we can adjust our sails. And just like the wind brought about an unexpected change in Cannes, embracing these superpowers can lead to innovative transformations in our industry. It’s about harnessing the unpredictable elements and steering them towards a purposeful direction.

By Stu Higton, ECD at Accenture Song Middle East