Facebook chief creative officer Mark D’Arcy and director of Africa Nunu Ntshingila took to the Debussy theatre stage at Cannes Lions on Wednesday 22 June to discuss the company’s mission to make the world more open and connected.
Ntshingila said the question she gets asked most is why she moved to Facebook, which she explains as due to her belief in the power of connecting people, businesses and ideas.
Currently, less than half of the world are connected to the internet but Ntshingila said that, by the Cannes Lions next annual event, another quarter of a billion people from the developing world will be online.
“Connectivity is changing very, very, very fast,” she added, recounting the story of an African street vendor’s success at reaching a new market by moving his business online.
“We’re about to enter an era of connectivity that’s fundamentally different from the one we know today,” Ntshingila said. “Everyone will have the power to share anything with anyone.”
“The world is changing – from here on, we’re going to see more creative ideas from more places than ever before.”
D’Arcy commented that this connectivity sounds like a huge amount of work.
“Disruption of what’s going on affects us in a million different ways,” he added. “The question is not can we do it – it’s can we do it faster.”
D’Arcy said that to seize opportunities, everyone needs to be more connected, as well as more creative, in this fragmented industry, and spend time working out how to organise talent to be faster and smarter together.
“Connected we can create anything,” he added.
However, he expressed the need to recognise some truths about what the connected world will be like, that the greatest ideas may not be our own and that this is not a one way thing. “The world is going to come to us – we must get much more comfortable recognising great ideas.”
D’Arcy said that the most dangerous brief is “just do something that’s never been done before,” expressing the need to turn “today’s breakthroughs into tomorrow’s best practices”.
“We need to foster collectively a culture of collaboration over combat,” he added. “Connected, we truly believe we can do amazing things but the changes need to be with everyone – even us.”
D’arcy feels too much energy has been put into a false debate between technology and creativity.
“This idea that technology and creativity are at loggerheads – to have them at loggerheads is crazy! What’s Instagram without photographers? What’s Newsfeed without a small dog trapped in a water melon?
“Connected we really believe we can create everything.”
“We can argue about how to change but we can’t argue about the need to change,” concluded Ntshingila.
“With your creativity, let’s go find those ideas that change our businesses – not only that, but do it with respect to humanity.”