The Older the Beta by @willwright16

The Older the Beta


It’s the Wednesday before we leave for Cannes for a week of sun, fun, talks and maybe the odd drink. I’ve never been but I’ve heard good things.


As with every year, in the run up to Cannes, I start to see “Predictions for Cannes” articles start to populate my social feeds. It got me thinking; firstly, do the articles themselves influence the judging? And if I was to predict a piece of work to be big winner what would it be and why?


Problem solving has long always been my underlying definition for good work.


Beyond that what makes a good piece of work better than another comes down to a few factors but mainly size; how big or relevant or effective is the solution, and simplicity; how elegant looking and working is it. I’m sure there is chart to reflect how these two interact but charts aren’t my thing.


Looking back at last year’s arguably best pieces of problem solving, what.three.words & Life Paint, both Grand Prix Winners, a bit of a coincidence has emerged.


Firstly, they both reek of that “eau de so simple” cologne that we all love.


They also both solve problems that have existed for 175 years.


The first ever recorded bicycle crash occurred in 1842, reportedly between an early rider of the velocipede, and a young girl in Glasgow.


The penny black stamp is the first official use of the written postal address and was first used in 1840. Before that an address was just directions written in short hand.


So when you look at it, both of last years Cannes Grand Prix Winners solve problems that had already been solved.


The address was already invented to find locations. The high-vis jacket/reflector/bike light were all already invented or adapted to improve cyclist visibility.


The Cannes winners just solved the problem again better.


As time & civilization moves on the solutions to a problem become old and outdated to the point that they cease to become solution at all.


The overpopulation of cities and the lack of infrastructure in the developing world demanded a more accurate simpler system to describe location.


The increase of street lighting and cars on the road made the light/reflector and the high vis jacket arguably ineffective.


I guess where I am going with this is that, in order to blow a Cannes jury away you have to be looking to solve problems that are so old, widespread, and natural that they don’t even seem like problems any more.


The tech sector guys are smart about their solutions. They are always updating them.


They release ideas in Beta, and then they update them and make them better.


Lots of little ideas improving their one original one.


It never stops either. Think about it. How different is the first Facebook compared to the multi faceted blue piece of digital infrastructure we have today?


Every update it gets better.


As creatives, especially you guys in SCA in the run up to Cream, should be looking for the old problems & solutions that need updating. The problems that are so old they aren’t even considered problems anymore; they are just a fact of life. They are all around you.


For example:   The Heimlich maneuver. The old solution to choking.

                        The street light. The solution to street crime.

                        The newspaper fan. The solution to being hot on the London underground.

                        The puncture repair kit. The dated solution to the… you get the idea.


The world and society develops so fast that every solution to a problem will eventually age and need to go back into Beta testing.


The older the problem, the better.


Why? Because the older the problem, the more powerful the solution.


Also the less likely another team will find it before you.


Good luck at Cream and the Future Lions guys. Maybe see you in Cannes.







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