"There is a huge war on talent," says Trivisonno-Hawley. She sees a "big tension" looming between higher-ups who primarily focus on revenue contrasting with the next generation of creative talent who seek less-money making projects in order to support advocacy and social responsibility.
All brands, understandably, want to be on the right side of history. Polarizing campaigns, such as Nike's Kaepernick or Gillette's take on toxic masculinity, are a fine line to navigate, the panelists say. The most effective strategy to avoid tanking your sales requires predictive analysis.
"Bravery needs to come with data to support your theory and how consumers will react. What is your mission and do you have a right to have the conversation?," asks Trivisonno-Hawley, adding execution is critical to success.
Possible, which is merging under WPP's Wunderman Thompson, worked with Tommy Hilfiger to produce seven new clothing innovations under Hilfiger's Adaptive collection designed for those with disabilities. "The most important thing on the onset was saying we didn't know what we didn't know," she says. It wasn't a feedback loop or beta testing, it was partnering with disabled individuals to tap into their genius, she says.
Panelists agree technology and new innovations are fueling advances among select groups, but ultimately these hacks benefit everyone. After all, the typewriter was originally developed to help those with disabilities. "Inclusive design is better for everybody," says Trivisonno-Hawley, adding voice is just one of the more recent opportunities.
IBM iX's clients consistently seek to "grow and change," says Seabrook. Across the C-suite, they want to expand their product base and fight off the disruptors, he says.
Companies need to focus on "data-driven emphatic design" that turns an assignment into a perspective that isn't about you, says Nation. Does your design team get a brief and immediately go to the table to design a solution? Or do they go out in the world to experience before they seek to solve the problem?