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Matthew Morgan, Co-founder, MakeMC

In my last article I set out what I hoped to achieve from being a start-up founder at this year’s Cannes Festival of Creativity and specifically from the first ever InnovationLions awards. In my mind I wanted to talk and ideate with the great and the good of the communications industry who I’d loosely grouped into 4 categories:

  • Marketers – what cash-flow-conscious start-up founder wouldn’t want free advice from the very best?
  • Investors – I won’t lie, we’re always chasing investment, or at least feedback from those who finance innovation.
  • Brands – an exploration of possible partnership and/or collaboration.
  • Other start-ups – working alone and drinking endless cups of instant coffee, sometimes I feel like I’m going mad… it’d be good to meet others doing the same.

How did I do? Really well on the last three. Investors and brands were both really keen to listen to my plans and points of view and to explore all avenues for potential collaborations. It was also great to share experiences, stress and a few beers with other start-up founders. TechCrunch were even good enough to host a number of us on a yacht one afternoon #grouptherapy. I now have weeks and weeks’ worth of follow ups, post meets and due-diligence to complete. The marketers on the other hand seemed more interested in celebrating their own work… and I guess that’s fair enough having been in their shoes in previous years at Cannes #timetoletyourhairdown.

So what did I learn? Looking broadly at the work at this year’s festival (inc main, health and innovation) it’s a good reminder that “old-skool advertising” can still be an amazing influence of people. Even for brands at the cutting edge of tech and innovation… Apple for example picked up a GrandPrix for its outdoor (printed billboards and the like) campaign Shot On An iPhone.

As for the InnovationLions awards I thought I’d share the three that really moved me. Not only did I feel that these were the best uses of technology to change behavior, but on reflection I found it interesting that they are all socially responsible in one way or another. This is a great demonstration that a real human need and a tight budget is frequently the recipe for great innovation. Good for the causes they support and great inspiration for us in the start-up world:

Vodafone “Between Us” – based on the insight that victims of domestic abuse often find it hard to call for help this is a discrete app that allows them subtly call for help/support: Click here

Twin Souls “Russian Orphans” – based on the insight that adopted orphans struggle with identity and how they look compared to their new family this used visual biometrics software to pair orphans with similar looking adoptive parents: Click here

What3Words “Address the World” – based on the insight that +50% of the world doesn’t have a postal address (slums, favelas etc) this turns GPS coordinates into simple 3 word phrases making it simple for people to say where they live: Click here