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Cracking the code on creativity

by Rea Gierran

CANNES – Daniel Bonner, Chief Creative Officer of Razorfish, and Will Sansom, Director of Contagious Insider, talked about cracking the code of creativity on the third day of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016.

“The role of technology in everything we do is increasing exponentially. Yes, there’s been a massive change but it’s nothing compared what’s yet to come,” Sansom noted. “The computerized and the automated era has fundamentally changed creativity, and in an increasingly automated future, human creativity plays a very big role because technology needs processes which standardizes efficiency in a certain degree.”


Bonner and Sansom did a groundbreaking experiment to know if there’s an algorithm for creativity. They challenged a data science team to dive into 15 years worth of Cannes archive using a number of different tools to see if there’s a trend and pattern amongst successful campaigns. According to the two, data science can be used to unearth fun facts but it can also be used to confront ourselves with hard truths that the industry needs to act on.

The following are the creative principles proven by data science:

  1. No more excuses, great creativity is within of us all. Media spend is not equal to a successful campaign.

  2. Invest in relationships, creativity may not cost money but it does require time, bravery and trust

  3. Kill the rock star culture, agency people aren’t traditionally prepared to relinquish their power

  4. Play nicely with each other, modern creativity means collaboration internally and externally

  5. Face the facts and act on it

Given the truths revealed by the experiment, one thing was certain: there’s no such thing as a code of creativity, only the code of conduct in creativity.

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