Glug x Cannes Lions: 7 Takeaways To Help You Create Better Work
To read this article on the official Glug website head over HERE.
Glug partnered up with Cannes Lions to present an evening where they brought a bunch of incredible trailblazers in the creative industries together to discuss Why Creativity Matters. In celebration of International Women’s Day it was great to see a full female line up. I mean, when does this ever happen!?
Creativity in itself is quite difficult to define and I quite liked this explanation given by one of the panelists: Creativity is taking things and putting them together in new ways we’ve never seen before.
We then of course have the official definition:
Regardless, of how you want to define it. The role it plays in moving us forward is key.
The evening was hosted by Louise Benson, Director of Health, Innovation & Entertainment at Cannes Lions who set the tone of the evening quite nicely:
“We need to honour those who have come before us, those who started hacking at the glass ceiling. But, it’s what we do next that counts. What we’re doing right now to change the world is not just for us but for those who will be our future leaders.”
The 7 headlines below cover the most attention grabbing topics that were discussed at the event and is an overview of what the impressive and inspiring women in that room were so generous to share.
I’ve added in 7 call to actions at the end of each headline. These are things I challenge you to implement into your own life so you can start moving towards your best self and ultimately your best work, starting today.
1. You Don’t Know What’s Possible Until It’s Done
There are certain limits we believe to be true. There are certain truths we believe to be set in stone and there are many things those around us will tell us, are not possible. Mainly because it’s never been done before or they themselves have tried and failed.
Polina Zabrodskaya, Creative Director at Publicis London gave the first talk of the evening and what really stuck with me was when she explained how “Humans are wired to compete and when we compete we achieve the things we thought were impossible.”
She continued to give the example of pole vaulting. In 1992 we believed that women could only jump as high as 4 meters and by 2008 the record raised to 5 meters. This was because of several reasons, including the materials with which the poles were made.
This happens across all industries, all it requires is for someone to question the rules and think about how they can go about solving it. This takes creativity.
We don’t know what we’re truly capable of doing until we try. We need to push through those uncomfortable moments which we are obliged to experience in order to get to the other side.
Call To Action: What have you been told is impossible? Challenge it. Use your creativity to map out how it would actually be possible. Even if just in an imaginary scenario.
2. Together We Can Achieve More
The second panel of the night was dedicated to the importance of mentorship. Zoe Clapp from UK TV, Rebecca Rhodes, CCO of Golin Health and Shahnaz Ahmed, Senior Designer and Creative at Livity took stage to discuss the topic.
When discussing the benefits of mentorship, Shahnaz explained how it helped boost her confidence and public speaking abilities. Seeing women in power also made her see that you can be a woman in a leadership role and still be soft spoken and feminine.
Rebecca expressed her joy for mentorship and said it’s a chance for her to guide people with the knowledge that she has gained after what sometimes has been quite a brutal journey.
Zoe Clapp shared how she believes that mentors don’t give their mentees all the answers, rather they just unlock what the mentee already knows. She said the art of mentorship is finding out what the mentee really wants: "It's about asking the right questions to tease out the truth without projecting your own ideas onto them."
Mentoring is important in the creative industries. There are many women who are not letting their voices be heard. Clapp explained how women often ask themselves “How do I do my idea justice in a room full of men” She continued to explain how it’s about helping women with their confidence and teaching them that it’s not about being the loudest in the room.
They also discussed the unofficial mentor role. Sometimes by just sitting down with someone for a coffee affects and influences that person in a positive way.
Overall there was a sense of paying it forward. When all other panellists spoke about mentorship they discussed how it’s a cycle. The opportunities offered to you on your way up are hopefully going to make you into the type of person who will help others on their journey too.
Call To Action: Reach out to someone you’d like to learn from. Generally you’ll learn that people want to help.
3. The Power Of The Side Hustle
Today, many millennials have side hustles. They have a tendency to get frustrated and are more likely to suffer from mental health than any generation before them. So, side hustles are a great way to keep them engaged.
Scarlett Montanaro, Creative at 18 Feet & Rising and Co-founder of Crack + Cider, spoke about her frustration in the work place. "After a while things get monotonous and briefs started to look the same." To solve this problem, Scarlett and her friend put together their own brief. They thought they’d sell 50 jackets but ended up selling thousands of jackets and have since opened offices in multiple cities around the world.
Do your own work. Create something on the side that acts as your outlet to express your own ideas. Create your own lab where you can experiment freely.
There is also power in just doing. You never know where it can take you. Micro actions are so much more important than you think and give you the opportunity to acquire new skills.
Call To Action: Make something happen. It can be something small. Give it a deadline and bring it to life.
4. Support The Innovators
One of the panelists shared an incredibly exciting new initiate Dusseldorf, Germany recently launched. Currently only 12% of women who want to launch their own start up, actually do. The number one reason for this is lack of funding. Service Plan Campaign Hamburg partnered up with Metro to solve this problem. They have a vision which they hope will encourage more women to start their own companies. How do they hope to achieve this you may ask? Every girl born between midnight and 11 p.m. on March 8 within Dusseldorf’s city limits can apply to be given a bank account with 2,000 euros in it. When they turn 18, they are then given access to this account with which they can start their own business. If this initiative will have an effect no one knows, but the cause is certainly a worthy one to support.
These are the types of ideas we need to back because creativity can change thinking, if not the world.
We also need to ask ourselves the question on how we can involve more people in changing the world. Instead of just buying a product or listening to a song, how can we get people to take action and be part of a greater purpose?
These are the companies we need to invest in.
Call To Action: Research your industry. Find the underdogs and the ones trying to change things.
5. We’re Only Human
Paulette Long has 35 years experience working in the music industry. She’s worked in publishing, PR and artist management among many other roles. She began by saying how because she wears the music publisher hat, people don’t see her as a creative. In her opinion anyone who is solving a problem is being creative. Especially accountants…
When it comes to finding creatives she wants to work with, she shared how it goes beyond the material. She wants to know who the person behind the music is. She touched upon the importance of being a good listener here as well.
Paulette shared a great story when asked about how she deals with big egos and personalities. When she just entered the music industry she was working on a Paul Young show. She describes how her co-workers would get star struck, “I looked at my colleague and boss and would watch them run around after these people, losing the plot” she continues “I thought, I don’t ever want to be like that.” Sure they can sing, but after all, they are just humans.
On that note, because we’re human, we’re going to make mistakes. The panelists explained how it’s not a constant trajectory, there are lots of ups and downs. It's okay to go explore several different directions.
Call To Action: If someone were to write a story about you tomorrow what story would you hope they’d write. Are you currently living up to that story? If not, what can you do to get yourself more in line with it?
6. Don’t Take It Too Seriously
Chaka Sobhani, COO of Leo Burnett walks onto stage “These are really great seats for short and fat people by the way” she says as she gets onto the stool. The room roars with laughter along with her. She has an infectious laugh and is a breath of fresh air in a world where people take themselves so seriously.
The entire time she was on stage she had the audience chuckling at her stories. Her energy was undeniable and you could tell she genuinely loves what she does.
When approaching projects or jobs she explained how she’s motivated by doing things she’s never done before. She also doesn’t go in to situations thinking she knows it all.
Regardless, there are still pressures. As artists you need to deliver in order to get your advances and it can get quite tough to deliver hit after hit, great campaign after great campaign. Be sure to surround yourself with good people. People who will support you through the tough times and allow you to experiment and make mistakes.
Bottom line, you can be incredible at what you do while at the same time, not take it all so seriously. Enjoy it! Otherwise, why do it?
Call To Action: Read ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck’.
7. Be Yourself
Approach projects from your own unique lived experience. This is what’s going to allow you to create better work.
We were fortunate enough to have Ayanna Witter-Johnson, singer & cello player perform for us. Her sound was undeniably unique and because of her self assuredness in who she was as a performer she had the entire room mesmerised with her incredibly unapologetic style.
Zoe Clapp explained how, you may know what's going on in your head but don’t expect the rest of the world to know what you need. You need to voice it.
Chaka shared a story about a new hire, “It’s not about moulding him into what we are, but about learning from him and letting him spread his magic.”
Call To Action: What is it about your story that's unique? Take some time to think about what you can offer.
And so, dear friends this is where we part ways. I do hope you got even a tiny bit of insight from this piece and that it’ll inspire you to move forwards and make bolder decisions. For me attending events like these reminds me of the incredible women out there who we can all learn from.