What makes a big idea? Hear from some of the PR Jury at Cannes 2014.

So day 2 of judging at Cannes and lots of lively debate and discussion already amongst the PR jury. 21 of us from 19 different countries and disciplines gives a wide diversity of opinions and experiences around the table. Entries for the PR category at Cannes are up 43% on 2013 and we certainly know about it in the judging room! We are looking at around 120 entries per day with 6 day’s judging in total. There is some brilliant work on show but the judging is not an easy or simple process and as you might imagine from such a seasoned bunch we are constantly challenging each other’s perspectives. I’ve been asking the judges what their definitions of creativity are and what, for them, makes a big idea. Whilst studying creativity and innovation at MA level I’ve been exposed to 100’s of definitions so it’s interesting to try nailing this particular piece of jelly to the wall in the PR context.

Bill Bernbach, DDB’s founder said “Dullness won’t sell a product but neither will irrevelent brilliance.” Jury member Claire Salvetti, a Brit working as MD of Mango in Sydney (part of DDB) gave me her take: “For me an awesome idea is influential and enhances people’s lives. For an idea to be influential it has to be fresh as well as relevant to both the brand and to people.”

Judge Bjorner Thorsen, a Creative from Trigger, Norway told me creativity is: “creating new ideas and solutions from old thoughts & experiences”. 

Petra Sammer is Chief Creative Officer at Ketchum Pleon and she believes: “creativity is ‘unwiderstehlich’. A creative idea is something irresistable. You can´t elude yourself from creativity so you know it in your gut when a real creative thought is shining up.

Elise Mitchell, CEO of US-based Mitchell Communications Group told me: “to me, creativity is a fresh take, putting things in a new light, breaking through, capturing the imagination, surprising and delighting, evoking an emotional response.”

Ann Maes, MD Ogilvy PR, Brussels puts it simply: “creativity is turning the ordinary into the remarkable.”

FleishmanHillard’s Julia Kozak from Poland quotes Charles Mingus: “creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity”.

“I believe it is a way or a solution that no one has though of before. And it seems to be so fine, adequate or perfect that everybody will come to say: how come I didn’t figured it out myself before?” says Catarina Amorim, M Public Relations, from Lisbon.

One of my favourite definitions of what it takes to be creative is by Dr Ruth Noller, who was Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Creative Studies at Buffalo State College in the US. She was a mathmatician who studied creativity for a lifetime and so she created a formula:

C = fa(KIE)

Creativity is a combination of knowledge (deep sector or industry know-how), imagination (kids have plenty but it gets eroded as we get older if we’re not mindful) and evaluation (the ability to apply criteria and bring experience to the ideas to determine the best way forward). The a is for attitude – self-belief and open-mindedness – which she (and many others including IDEO’s David Kelley) believe is essential for creativity.

Final word for today goes to MSL’s Renee Wilson, our PR Jury President who says that it’s about “connecting the dots to find new solutions” which is exactly how the mighty Steve Jobs described creativity so she’s in good company!

What’s your definition? No doubt more on this as the week unfolds.

Written by Claire Bridges, Founder Now Go Create and Judge at this year’s Cannes Lions on the PR Jury. Link up with Claire on Google+




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