I was really privileged to be selected as a juror for the Innovation Lions at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival. It was an immersive and interactive experience with my fellow jurors, and the work was inspirational.
The innovation category is all about work that is applying the future now. The winning work succeeded because it mixes creativity with technology. As a creative at Accenture Interactive this felt like a perfect fit for me—our whole business is oriented around finessing this combination to create the best experiences for people.
There are three pieces of work that I would particularly like to pull out. The unifying thought behind all of these pieces is simplicity. They are evidence of the fact that innovation doesn’t have to be about breakthrough thinking. True innovation is when you turn an everyday thing into something no one could have imagined.
My Line, Colombia—Winner of the Grand Prix
This idea is wonderfully simple. Some parts of Colombia remain underdeveloped and have poor infrastructure. This idea is about bringing the power of Google to those with no internet access. People can call a phone number 600913 (Google) and ask a question. An algorithm then converts this into text so the caller can ask anything to the Google search engine, and get a spoken answer. This idea takes a recognised problem, and answers it with a very simple solution. What is exciting about this is that it could be replicated in any underdeveloped country in the world.
Good Vibes, India
This innovation enables blind, deaf and mute people to talk to each other by reinventing something very traditional, Morse Code. The mobile phone application uses one or two finger taps to create the dots and dashes of the Morse Code, and phone vibrations for those who cannot see them. This is a great example of technology uniting people.
The Canceller, Brazil
Finally, a solution to probably one of the most frustrating experiences we all regularly have in our lives… Have you ever waited in a telephone vortex to speak to an operative to simply cancel a contract or a subscription? Well this innovation has invented a chatbot that can do this for you—so no waiting, no stress. I have seen a lot of chatbots being deployed by companies to reach their consumers, but this turns that around, being a chatbot that consumers can use to reach companies and control their own experience.
This was a really tough category to judge, and I would like to congratulate everyone who entered. I hope that I will be lucky enough to repeat this experience in the future.