Do tech-centered ad teams need more human creativity?

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


Some will know the name of Gerd Leonhard, a German futurist, speaker, and author who specialises in the debate between humanity and technology. Gerd has been a guest keynote speaker at previous INMA World Congresses, and I was lucky to interview him recently when he joined me on my UK Business radio show (The UK Brand Show).

A global “ation” nation? 

Gerd spoke on how we are all becoming accustomed to a new era of “ations” — i.e., digitisation, mobilisation, augmentation, disintermediation, and automation. Anything that can be automated in future will be.

That sounds rather scary for some. In media advertising for instance, what about people’s jobs? In an era where we in the news industry try to get closer to our advertisers and readers using data, context, algorithms, programmatic advertising, etc., what does that mean for our staff and the offerings to our audiences? How does that affect what we should be presenting to our advertisers? 

Of course, the rise in technological advances in recent years has meant we can indeed get closer and understand behaviours, nuances, and trends. But we need to do much more than that, especially when it comes to advertising. 

Gerd told me that in such a world that he describes, “anything that CAN’T be automated will become more important in the future” — all the things, in fact, he showed me in his word cloud below, which includes creativity, insights, critical thinking, values, meaning, respect, storytelling, etc.

Future Gerd Leonhard uses this word cloud to describe non-automated priorities for the future.
Future Gerd Leonhard uses this word cloud to describe non-automated priorities for the future.

Isn’t that what we need to all grasp when thinking about shaping our future sales structures and the way and what we “sell?”

“Human insights beyond data” 

Gerd said: “It’s about reaching human insights beyond data and technology.” 

It’s food for thought, is it not? We are all highly focused on using data and technology to drive our advertising offerings. Rightly so. But we also need to push forward — and dare I say, “exploit” — the humanity aspects of society and our company beliefs via our sales teams. It all seems to fit perfectly alongside, for example, diversity and inclusion, (a hugely important focus of what we do now), as another, complementary part of that future concentration. And it totally complements the notion of not forgetting the importance of the human touch.

The "Diversity Triangle" as described by author Louise Story.
The "Diversity Triangle" as described by author Louise Story.

This past INMA video interview with Gerd is as relevant today as when it was filmed. And here is the UK Brand Show interview I did with him a year ago:

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About Mark Challinor

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