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Matthew Morgan, Co-founder, MakeMC

According to Wikipedia the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was inspired by the International Film Festival, staged in Cannes since the late 1940s. A group of cinema screen advertising contractors felt the makers of advertising films should be similarly recognized. They established the International Advertising Film Festival, the first of which took place in Venice, Italy, in September 1954, with 187 film entries from 14 countries. In fact the lion of the Piazza San Marco in Venice was the inspiration for the Lions trophy.

Since 1954 the Festival has developed its remit to accommodate and celebrate all disciplines of advertising and this year sees the first Lions Innovation. Lions Innovation is a festival within the Festival that takes place during Cannes Lions week. They are calling it a unique two-day event where data, technology and creativity will intersect.

The original impetus of the Festival was to recognize the makers of advertising. If advertising is the business of changing consumer behavior then to be true to that original impetus it is right that Cannes Lions introduces a category to recognize innovations in data and technology. And there is good justification for something the size of a “festival within the Festival” as today this sort of innovation has fundamentally changed consumer behavior and where change is the only constant… but you already knew that.

The list of invitees and speakers at this year’s festival, as always, is rich and diverse… where else would Marylin Manson and Kim Kardashian share a venue. On the Lions Innovation side there is clearly a focus on people who are both makers and disrupters. I’m particularly excited to see Ben Parr and Jude Gomila talk on how hardware and anthropological constraints shape the future of mobile and Alex Klein and Yonatan Raz-Fridman talk on what happens when kids are empowered to code. Looking through the whole list there appears to be a couple of strong themes. The first is in the application of data (hopefully a progression from the “big data” rhetoric, please) and second is in tech automation (particularly via AI). With this focus then, for those of us lucky enough to be invited to go, we will have a clear lens to see where data, technology and creativity are going to intersect.

As I write this on the plane heading to Europe and leaf through the Fesitval’s schedules I can’t wait to be there. Follow me on Twitter @formatt for my thoughts from #CannesLions #LionsInnovation week.