Design Mind frogcast: Voices from Cannes: Day 4

Guests: Kara Pecknold, Vice President of Regenerative Design, frog; Oliver Lange, Head of H&Mbeyond; Marina Ponti, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign; Clément Chenut, Circular Economy Leader, Capgemini Invent

On this episode, we’re sharing the final episode in our special summer mini-series recorded live from the Cannes Lions 2023 International Festival of Creativity. frog was an official partner of the event, where we hosted a cabana along the famed croisette. What ensued was four days of programming that included on-stage panels from our sunny beachside terrace and interviews with expert guests from leading brands in our on-site recording studio. In these series, we bring some of these conversations to you.

Day Four in the frog Cabana, we focused on the theme ‘End of the World vs. End of the Month.’ Have a listen to hear conversations between frog’s Vice President of Regenerative Design and voices from H&M, UN SDG Action Campaign and Capgemini Invent.

Listen to the podcast episode and read the full transcripts below. You can also find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotifyand anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Episode Transcript:

Design Mind frogcast
Bonus Episode: Voices from Cannes: End of the World vs. End of the Month with H&M, UN SDG Action Campaign & Capgemini Invent

Guests: Kara Pecknold, Vice President of Regenerative Design, frog; Oliver Lange, Head of H&Mbeyond; Marina Ponti, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign; Clément Chenut, Circular Economy Leader at Capgemini Invent

[00:09] Elizabeth Wood: Welcome to the Design Mind frogcast. Each episode, we go behind the scenes to meet the people designing what’s next in the world of products, services and experiences, both here at frog and far, far outside the pond. I’m Elizabeth Wood.

[00:24] Elizabeth Wood: Today on our show, we’re sharing the final episode of our special summer mini-series recorded live from the Cannes Lions 2023 International Festival of Creativity. frog was an official partner of the event, where we hosted a cabana along the famed croisette. What ensued was four days of programming that included on-stage panels from our sunny beachside terrace and interviews with expert guests from leading brands in our on-site recording studio. In this four-part series, we’re going day-by-day, sharing these interviews with you. As mentioned in our previous episodes in the series, which we do believe you’d enjoy if you haven’t listened already, you might hear a bit of background chatter from a very active cabana, or even an air conditioning unit–June is hot in the south of France. But, it all adds to the ambiance. So let’s jump in.

[01:13] Elizabeth Wood: Day Four in the frog Cabana was titled ‘End of the World vs. End of the Month,’ hosted by Kara Pecknold, frog’s Vice President of Regenerative Design. On this day, we launched a capsule collection called ‘Clothed in Chaos,’ a speculative design collaboration between frog and wearable tech brand Machina exploring fashion as survival for a climate-affected future. Check the link in our show notes to learn more about the looks. We also hosted panels and discussion with experts on sustainable innovation and making an impact supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Here’s our host Kara to explain more.

[01:51] Kara Pecknold: I’m Kara Pecknold VP of Regenerative Design at frog. The theme of day four at Cannes was ‘End of the World vs. End of the Month.’ The challenge for most businesses today is to meet the objectives of the immediate quarter. And yet, we see our planet suffering from climate and social unrest. This conversation is important because the creative industries are being tasked to reconsider their role in a world in crisis. One of the biggest key takeaways for me was the level of maturity of our panelists. You could tell they were up for the challenge when it came to addressing key topics through creativity, business and science.

[02:29] Kara Pecknold: Speaking of creativity, it was really fun to talk about frog’s Cards for Sustainability in one of our discussions.
Cards for Sustainability is a game for brainstorming the sometimes unexpected and playful solutions to real challenges, and then pitching them to ecosystem stakeholders beyond the business. We created this game as a fun and safe way to experiment with complex sustainability-related challenges. It allows teams to zoom out of their normal roles, be creative and have a few laughs along the way. Get in touch to learn more about Cards for Sustainability.

[03:04] Kara Pecknold: Thanks to H&M, the UN SDG Action Campaign, Forrester and Capgemini for joining me on an impactful and inspiring day at Cannes.

[03:14] Elizabeth Wood: First up, you’re going to hear a conversation between Kara and Oliver Lange, Head of an open innovation lab at H&M called H&Mbeyond. Fashion is an industry increasingly looking to balance the needs of providing personal expression and protection from the elements with the outsized impact it has on the environment. Here’s Kara and Oliver now to talk about the future of fashion.

[03:37] Kara Pecknold: It’s so great to have you here, Ollie. I’m really grateful that you can come and join us to have a little bit of a conversation as we are looking at the narrative of ‘Clothed in Chaos’ and thinking about the future of fashion. Can you tell us a little bit more about H&Mbeyond and what is its role in the business?

[03:55] Oliver Lange: Yes, of course. It’s a pleasure to be here, by the way. So H&Mbeyond is a grassroots movement. It’s a bottom-up trial for making innovation work in the big corporate world. So we are doing rebel innovation as we say. We look at potential products, services and experiences that H&M customers may love, right? And we’re exploring the field in between digitalization, sustainability and whatever we think may be exciting. We try to really test live on the street with real consumers. In the end, we are successful if something we have piloted or tested or explored can be scaled into the running business. So that’s basically it. It’s a tiny core team of four people. And I love that it’s so tiny because it means we need to be high on creativity when we are low on resources. We are based in Berlin, but we are exploring everywhere in the world where we think we can create value. That’s basically the story.

[04:49] Kara Pecknold: Amazing. I love that small little cohort. In that small, little cohort, what are some projects—if you can talk to us about it—or at least themes of projects that you’re looking at right now that you’re really excited about?

[05:00] Oliver Lange: Yes. There’s some projects where I left my heart. So in the history of our iteration, we started with one of the most strange projects we’ve ever done. We asked ourselves the question: what can technology build in fashion? What can this bring? What’s the value coming from it? That was back in 2019. And we didn’t dare to answer that question on our own. So we were just shouting out that question to the world. And we invited people from everywhere to create a solution for that question. And what came out of it was “Wearable Love.” It was a jacket that gives you hugs. So if I were to sit here and send a little short message to my 10 year old sitting at home in Berlin, and I would say “I’m thinking of you,” she would feel a hug on her shoulder, right? So that was a nice story. And what we learned was creativity and answers, that’s not where our expertise should be. Our expertise should be in having good questions and being a connector between challenges and problems, for example, and creative solutions in the world outside. So that was one.

[06:00] Oliver Lange: My most favorite is opening Pandora’s Box, unleashing the beast of production. Going down to single-piece production, like really making it from the beginning to the end, producing made-to-order products for real customers, and learning what that means. And I can tell you that the front end is easy, but changing how we produce things—that’s the hard step. So that’s maybe two that I can mention.

[06:24] Kara Pecknold: Super interesting and super relevant to our conversations that we’re having here at Cannes. I think this idea of innovation in fashion, and we know fashion, as you’ve just alluded to, can be a really challenging one—easy to do it on the front end, hard to do on the back end. What when you think about innovation is your main driver, your main inspiration if you’re sitting with these types of tensions together at the same time?

[06:48] Oliver Lange: It’s such a great question. And I’m thinking about this a lot because I can’t make a difference between my role and me personally as a human being, like being a father and having love for fashion. What we shouldn’t forget is that fashion is a fantastic thing. I mean it’s a great tool to express yourself. A company like H&M I’m extremely proud of because I think H&M democratized this to the world, right? So it became affordable to express yourself. And fashion is always also a symbol for something, either it’s belonging, or showing who you are, right? But it also has a very fundamental aspect to it, which is protecting yourself from nature’s forces, as you might say.

[07:30] Oliver Lange: Nowadays, if we look at fashion, and what it means in the world, I think the meaning is fully there. How we produce, how we sell or from the other side, how we consume became a challenge. Let’s say it like that. So we have a lot to do in this second biggest most polluting industry, which means a lot to many people. But there’s a lot of tasks linked to it. It’s the question of how we deal with resources, how we sell, how we produce, how we recycle, how we consume, how we close the loop in the linear model that worked out 30 years, mainly, very well. So I think that’s the main challenge. If fashion in the beginning was there to protect people from the surroundings, from nature, it kind of even flipped upside down if we look closely because fashion could be potentially be becoming a threat to nature.

[08:20] Kara Pecknold: Do you have any sense about what materials or things we should be thinking about or considering if we look at the future? Or being prepared for the future and fashion’s role to play in that?

[08:31] Oliver Lange: If we look at the material side, it feels like polyester and everything like that is more part of the old. Leather as the classical material is part of the old. I guess it’s now about materials that you can really, really recycle and that you can really make something new out of. So that’s basically what I think is the biggest challenge, but it’s also the solution. So, collecting garments and sorting garments that have mixed fibers in them is a really hard job, right? Plastics in garments are somewhat landing in the ocean. So I think it’s just nothing we should use anymore. Even innovations in that field that contain plastic and tell you that they can be recycled, it just feels a little bit odd to me. So I feel that we will see a lot more materials at scale that you can really recycle and you can make something new out of it. There’s fantastic, promising solutions out there, I guess.

[09:23] Oliver Lange: But what is also an influence that I love is the digital. Like if you look at virtual or fashion for the immersive worlds or for your digital representation, where it’s equally important to represent yourself, but totally different physics and laws to it. The whole technological developments we see and how digital fashion is produced at scale and how AI will be a part in this, supporting the design maybe, I think this will also help us a lot in understanding how this positively impacts the physical production of garments. We will see a lot of change in how design is produced, how circular design will become the new way of doing things. But we will also see that digital fashion might become a big part of helping people to express themselves and in reality plus somewhere else maybe.

[10:12] Kara Pecknold: I think there’s such an amazing opportunity as the creatives in the world to really think about what is our role? What are we making in the future? So that leads me to a next question. What do you think the role of the creative is going forward into, let’s say, sustainability narratives or unpredictable times? Do you have any thoughts on what creatives could be thinking about? Or doing or shaping or changing? Whatever, I leave it up to you.

[10:40] Oliver Lange: If we look at fashion, for example, the far end for me is the question at the moment. Who will, in the end, decide what people are going to wear? Or, on another level, who will decide what is going to be produced? And if you look, historically, there has been some experts having access to resources, having the mandate, having the power, creating fashion, right? And the other ones were just, let’s say, consuming. I think these roles are flipping upside down at the moment. So it’s not far away for me that when the technology will develop further that everyone basically can be a creator. So the tools are out there.

[11:19] Oliver Lange: Our kids when they grow up, they can easily decide how they want to look in the digital world as well as what they want to wear on the streets. Maybe then they don’t buy any designs from any brands or any logos. Maybe they create their own because they simply can and because they simply want to express themselves 100%. So I feel that the creatives and the communities, for me, they have been given fire in their hands. And they will challenge all the norms, all the status, everything that is established. And they are very value-driven in what they want to express, who they want to include and what values they want to create in this world.They are living with this torn-ness between optimism and pessimism. So that’s, I think, what I reflect on at the moment.

[12:03] Kara Pecknold: And maybe if there was an area if you could, if H&Mbeyond could, take on a big challenge in the next year or the next couple of years, is there a dream category that you would love to be focusing on when it comes to the future and fashion?

[12:20] Oliver Lange: Oh, for sure. And sorry for giving a boring answer, but the boring stuff sometimes has the biggest impact. And it’s not boring at all. I mean, I think that where we produce and how we produce is a fantastic field for innovation. So I think that onshore production, nearshore production is a fantastic idea. Getting close to where the demand for garments is, but also flipping this whole way of producing and then selling, flipping this upside down—only producing what you sold—is fantastic to me. And this means that if you’re close to where the demand is, and you produce clothes where the demand is, you have this opportunity, right? And if you then look at robotics and optimization in production, I think we’re not far away from having this fantastic production where everything is possible. And if we then manage to just take the materials that are already out there, and we don’t need to take any new material out of the soil or something—no new cotton—and we could just take whatever is out there already, then the loop would be closed. So this is exciting to me. It’s not the most exciting stuff, like talking about the virtual world. But if we manage to get some work there, then I feel this will help the planet a lot. And it will make all of us winners, and it will give us a good feeling.

[13:38] Kara Pecknold: Ollie, thank you so much. It has been such a delight to talk to you. It’s inspiring. It’s joyful. It is optimistic, but I love your practicality. Really grateful that you could come and join us here at the frog Cabana in Cannes.

[13:52] Oliver Lange: Thank you so much. This has been a pure pleasure, Kara. I’d love to ask similar questions to you somewhere, some when.

[14:01] Elizabeth Wood: Next up, you’re going to hear a conversation between Kara and Clément Chenut, Circular Economy Leader at Capgemini Invent. In a panel moderated by Forrester, the two explored Joseph Campbell’s classic ‘The Hero’s Journey’ as a framework for driving meaningful change.

[14:17] Kara Pecknold: For me, regenerative design is really all about thinking about how much we take and give back and to not over exceed those dimensions. And what does that look like for design? I think we have an opportunity to rethink materials, rethink ways of production, rethink how we engage with supply chains. But it even starts at the design process at the very beginning of how we think about social, environmental and planetary boundaries when we’re thinking about how we design. So, Clément. I’m super excited to have you in this conversation today.

[14:46] Clément Chenut: Super excited, too, so thanks a lot, Kara, for the introductions. My name is Clément Chenut. I’m in charge of the circular economy offering at Capgemini for the Group. And it’s exciting because I think there is a big complementarity between regenerative design and what we’re doing in circularity definitely. I think, you know, circular economy is a big concept. It’s beyond a buzzword now I believe in society. So we need to probably have a common ground and definitions. So the way we see it at Capgemini is really around optimizing the use of resources because we live in a world of carbon at the moment. But one of the underpinning layers when you think about planetary boundaries is the use of resources. At the very beginning, making sure you use the right amount of materials and the right materials, what you need to do to extend the lives of the products, so that you make the most of the materials we get there. And then, you know, all the reauthorizing processes from remanufacturing to recycling—making sure that it goes back to birth to some extent, and we can reuse those materials for new cycles.

[15:40] Kara Pecknold: What is interesting about our talk that we are having here is talking about what kind of a hero do we need for the next economy. And some of what we’ve been doing is thinking about Joseph Campbell’s story on the hero’s journey, and really starting from this call to a new adventure, an opportunity. Realizing that there’s challenges that you face, but then how do you come back and actually be successful? And a lot of the things we’ve been hearing at the festival around this narrative of “This is really hard. This is challenging. How can we do this?” And so I’m wondering if we could just start off, when you think about the circular economy and think about some of the things that might be a new call to adventure for someone who is a leader in a business or an organization, what are some of the immediate things that come to mind for you?

[16:25] Clément Chenut: If you look at the pressures, I mentioned resources at the beginning, but you know, the way we get access to those resources is getting harder and harder over time. Put it this way, the depletion of reserves is accelerating at a fast pace, which means that we are struggling at producing the product we want to put onto the market. If you look at the geopolitical context and the supply chain, these disruptions, it’s getting harder and harder to get supplied, although you get the materials back to your plants. So everything is just escalating through them. If you look at, I mentioned geopolitical context, the war in Ukraine and the significant impact in the provisioning of aluminum, for instance, or titanium with an increase of price volatility by a quarter of the actual price. So now you see a level of constraints that is growing. You see regulation that is being more and more stringent with regards to where we go. And finally, the consumer, the customer behind, you see the public and a society being really involved because we started seeing the aftermath of environmental disaster and climate change. So we need to be very cautious about what’s happening there. And as a leader, you need to retake this constraint as an opportunity.

[17:28] Kara Pecknold: To go on a journey, like Joseph Campbell suggests we are all going to go on if we’re going to become a hero, that change and shift in mindset that is super important to help almost ground you, to almost give you the sort of starting point of commitment—the starting point of a real feeling of “I’m in this for the long haul. I need to think about tools and things that I need to take on this journey that I maybe didn’t think about before.” So that’s one side of it. But then I think there is a lot around getting ready for the journey is the new types of mastery. So what are the new skills that I need—either I need or my team needs—that we didn’t have to have before? And for me, this is kind of a curious moment to reimagine the different kinds of questions I’m asking. And as I see my clients asking, they’re having to forecast a future that they didn’t predict was going to happen, but now they are faced with that today. So I think that’s an interesting part of setting yourself up for the journey moment.

[18:20] Clément Chenut: Yes, definitely. And when you look at markets, you talk about the skill gap, the change in mindset, and all the things. Marketing is at a pivot moment. We’re thinking of brands differently because you are changing your relationship with, obviously, your products and, obviously, your customers. So if you put it this way, like you know, in the Capgemini Research Institute, we identify across long studies across more than 8,000 organizations that 45% of consumers globally are ready to buy exclusively from sustainable brands. So it means that you have to make it vocal. You have to make it trustworthy and transparent. So now you are changing the game of the communication, you know? You need to be backed up by scientific proof, but you need to communicate it well. Some of the things are you can also put onto the market those products, but if you don’t explain how to use those products well, then you won’t make the real value out of them.

[19:15] Kara Pecknold: I’m noticing the shift of this new hero in the business, at least from the creative perspective, is a shift towards creativity and science. Our hero moment used to be what a cool idea that is and how interesting and it’s so futuristic. And I think now what we’re realizing to be a hero in the creative space, and to go on this journey to shift the way we build and make products and services, it’s actually requiring us to add something else into our skill set that we weren’t probably thinking about quite as much as before.

[19:47] Clément Chenut: Yeah, and I do have actually one question for you because this is something I could sense with the clients I speak with. Shifting towards more circular and sustainable models often implies high personalization of products or some parts of products. And how does that actually elevate the creativity level for designers as you are to make sure that we enter into this new regenerative era, but we do maintain differentiation and desirability for the products?

[20:15] Kara Pecknold: Yeah, it’s a big challenge. And it’s actually a conversation I’ve been having quite a bit with people here. What does it mean to personalize for somebody? And this whole idea of the tension between the individual and the collective. And so in some cases, what we’re getting to in this moment is many of the ways we think: sharing economy, sharing things, renting things, repurposing things. You know, and I talk a lot about fashion. This is an industry that I’m quite fascinated by, and the idea of the things we wear, the way we identify. And in that fashion space, I think it’s an interesting topic because personalization for so long has been our own way we look at ourselves: how I dress, how I show up. But I think there’s this new, you know, what is the future of personalization? Is it a shared collaborative narrative? I don’t have all the full answers. I think everything we’ve done for business as usual has enabled a new level of personalization, which I think is super interesting when it comes to my own health data or being able to interpret how I understand my preferences or my needs.

[21:12] Kara Pecknold: In places like fashion or in other brands, we often talk about collaborations. You know, so-and-so and so-and-so built X. And I think this is where it gets really interesting. When we think about design and creativity, you know, the next generation of things, we won’t just see one brand. I think it’ll be a narrative of brands and an ecosystem of brands that are starting to help solve for these different solutions. I think about things that I say to my clients. In some cases, it depends what level of the organization you’re actually touching on and who’s able to have, let’s say, the influence to really make the shift. Do you have any ideas about, you know, maybe I’m not the CEO, maybe I’m not the head of the company, but I’m a head of a unit or a department and I’m only playing one piece of this puzzle. In some cases, what I see is that there’s a need to just collaborate within the business itself—nevermind external partners. Do you have any thoughts or stories or even advice on how to help navigate that kind of internal collaboration that’s needed to make change?

[22:11] Clément Chenut: The greatest story I can tell about this is mine because I’m not part of the C-suite. But I do have the responsibility today of the circular economy offering for the Group as Capgemini. And the journey started, you know, three years or even more ago. It all started with convictions. And that’s where I think everyone can be a hero to some extent. If we go back to the narrative of today. Convictions of saying I was working, you know, initially in classic digital transformation, CIO advisories, really like tech-related. And I was like, what if actually, we can develop tech for good? Start learning how to code and I started learning, you know, tons of things around like, the good about the tech. Then I’m just like, well, I need to understand the good good. So I started to get educated myself, getting into the certification process myself. And reading a lot of reports. I think one of the greatest mistakes of people is that they don’t read reports. Reports, most of the time, we get PhD people spending years and years developing one topic and you have all this information free for you.

[23:11] Clément Chenut: I started the journey and then started writing about my journey. You see how it resonates. Then you learn also because you learn from others. And then, smoothly, you are becoming an ambassador of a topic you really want to be part of. And I think that’s a critical moment in the journey.

[23:28] Kara Pecknold: Yeah. And I often liken it to the movies. I love the idea that Frodo couldn’t have taken the journey without Samwise Gamgee. And Luke couldn’t have taken the journey without Yoda. So, last question we can ask each other. Five years from now. What is happening in the way that circular economy is being embraced or acted on? Or, you know, what’s the hero state at that moment for you?

[23:55] Clément Chenut: I think industries are not all equal, that’s for sure. And we see, potentially, leaders within our industry saying, “I want to get that market right.” They are big enough to say “I want to get that market right.” So the objective would be how to encourage those courageous companies and brands getting over the challenge. And getting over the challenge means obviously, supporting the industrial engine, but more importantly, helping them structure the ecosystem behind it—including working with some direct competitors, working in agencies within a consortium, giving a sense to the brand internally as well with advocacy for those employees to embrace that messaging. How about you?

[24:39] Kara Pecknold: I think for me, and maybe I’m too ambitious. I think for me, the words “circular economy” go away. I think we think about it as the Next Economy, and the Next Economy has new rules and assumed levels of play or levels of engagement. And so all this groundwork that’s been laid so far, I would love to see that as just a baseline. And so things like what are we awarding at Cannes? We’re awarding very different things. It won’t be just the Sustainable Development section of the Cannes awards. It will be something even more integrated into every single award. Every single award must have some sort of sustainability criteria in its ecosystem or in its way of submitting things that we’re seeing even along the croisette. These are new things in five years.

[25:20] Kara Pecknold: And so while I’m just situating that in Cannes, I think that extends out to all industries. I’m super passionate about food and fashion. If I think about two industries that I know have a long harder road or maybe a long harder journey are taken to task a lot more. I have a lot of empathy for how hard that can be because of the interconnectedness of the supply chains—because of all the things that are global versus local. And so I would love to see where they are heroes, not people who continue to get pressured and judged. I think the judgment era is over. We know it’s a problem. We know we need to change. And what I’m hoping is that change feels like it’s collaborative. It feels like we are heroes for the right causes. And that we’re seeing the fruits of our work in new and interesting ways.

[26:06] Kara Pecknold: Thank you so much, Clément, for coming to Cannes and joining me. I’m super excited that we’ve had this time to spend together. It’s been always fun. We always have really good conversations and I think this is but another one. So thank you so much.

[26:19] Clément Chenut: Thank you very much for having me and always a pleasure being with you and especially in Cannes.

[26:23] Kara Pecknold: Amazing. Thank you.

[26:24] Clément Chenut: Thank you.

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[26:26] Elizabeth Wood: Finally, we were thrilled to be joined on stage and in the podcast booth by Marina Ponti, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign. On stage, Marina previewed their latest campaign titled ‘Unite to Act’ all about the value of collaboration to make change. You’ll find a link to the campaign in our show notes. Here’s Kara and Marina now.

[26:46] Kara Pecknold: I am really excited to have you here today, Marina. You joined us here at Cannes to really talk about this next phase of the Action Campaign. And I think before we start this, maybe for people who don’t fully know what the UN Sustainable Development Goals are, maybe we just do a quick overview of what they are. What are they for? Why do they matter to us today?

[27:08] Marina Ponti: So the Sustainable Development Goals, that we often call SDGs, they are a plan. There are 17 goals that all governments from all over the world agreed to in 2015 with a clear deadline of 2030. So these goals cover all the key elements of life from climate action, from health, education, decent jobs, energy, renewable energy, cities, life on land, life under the water. In other words, they represent a vision and a very concrete plan for a better future by 2030. And what I always say is I like to summarize them in one sentence, which is “social and climate justice.”

[27:56] Kara Pecknold: And this year, you’re adding a new narrative to the Action Campaign. We’ve started with “Flip the Script.” And now we’re moving to a build on that narrative. Can you tell us a little bit about what that new narrative is going to be going forward?

[28:11] Marina Ponti: So we’ve been thinking a lot, also with the colleagues from frog, we live in a world that is extremely polarized. And we’ve seen a narrative of division. What we see as a creative element of lines: lines that divide countries, people, lines created by climate change in the soil, lines trailed by planes in the sky. So there are all these negative lines. And the SDG, what they can do is to wave all those lines and transform them in a ribbon. And the ribbon is a symbol of unity. A unity which doesn’t mean we all think the same or we all do the same, but we all in all our diversity share a shared vision and we belong to a community. And we feel this community and the sense of togetherness.

[29:07] Kara Pecknold: And you mentioned a ribbon as a sort of a key artifact. It’s a key part of the new campaign. Can you tell me a little bit more about, you know, the choice of the particular SDGs that you’re focusing on? And we are today wearing some of the ribbons of those particular colors and the particular SDGs that they represent. Can you tell us a little bit more about why those particular five SDGs have been focused on for this particular moment?

[29:36] Marina Ponti: Yes. So the ribbon is a sense of, you know, coming together. And the campaign also entails on 15th of September, everybody being activated using the ribbon in the most creative ways. But we decided, I mean, the goals of 17 and they are all very important. They’re all very interlinked. But we decided to put the emphasis on five that somehow are mainstream and can help the acceleration of the others. So the first is about gender equality. Gender equality is a key goal. We cannot be in a situation where half of the population of the world is not given the same opportunity. So if we want to see improvement in the life of society or protect our planet, we need to empower half of the population.

[30:30] Marina Ponti: The second is about inclusion. We have seen in recent years an increase in inequalities both nationally and also between countries. So what the SDGs call upon us is really to create societies and create a planet which is inclusive of the different perspectives, which gives opportunity to all the different sector groups, and which actually include particularly the most vulnerable parts of societies, and also the most vulnerable countries and nations. So the second is inclusion.

[31:10] Marina Ponti: The third is climate action. I think I don’t need to add any additional point on this, but it’s clear that climate action is needed from all of us.

[31:21] Marina Ponti: And the fourth is peace. We see it every day. And actually beyond the most visible war, which is between Russia and Ukraine, we see that today, there are more wars than ever from 1944. So we really need to put an emphasis on dialogue and again on this coming together to prevent conflict.

[31:46] Marina Ponti: And the last one is about Zero Hunger. It’s about food systems that are sustainable. There will be a summit from the 24th to the 26th of July hosted by the Italian government in Rome, that we really discuss how to make from farm to fork—all the production, distribution and consumption of food on one side sustainable, on the other side inclusive, so that it’s equitably distributed among everyone.

[32:21] Kara Pecknold: Can you tell me a little bit about this idea of the power of a campaign to really move and change people’s hearts and minds?

[32:29] Marina Ponti: Every campaign is about creating change. Sometimes, you know, it’s changing policy, but it’s also changing behaviors. You know, if you look at the goal, if you look at climate change, if you look at many of the challenges ahead of us, they also require a behavior shift. And to obtain change, you need the facts. And I think that there’s a lot of evidence why we need to consume less and better, why we need to reduce our travel, why we need to change some of our, you know, behaviors. I think companies are clear how perhaps their supply chain should be transformed or to another business model. But people will not only change with that. They will also change by emotion—when their heart is touched. And this can only happen through art and through creativity. And that’s why I’m here.

[33:27] Marina Ponti: And that’s why in this campaign, as in other campaigns led by others that were very effective, combine fact and emotion. So the mind to the heart creating, hopefully, a click where actually people feel touched and feel ready and feel encouraged to change. And another very important factor of this campaign is that we always want to convey a positive message. So every action counts because every action can lead to multiple actions, and can lead to inspire many others. And every one of us can become an agent for change. We’ve seen in society now the change doesn’t only start by institutions or by governments. It can also start by individuals. And we wanted to inspire those individuals.

[34:26] Marina Ponti: You were asking me about the campaign. So we launched on the third of July. We’re very excited. There will be a toolkit available with social media action, a lot of tools and assets that organizations and individuals can adapt by adding the logo, adding their message. So it’s an open-source campaign. That’s our DNA: very creative with a lot of initiative. and a lot of, you know, challenges for businesses, employee engagement. So there is a lot. The peak of the activation will be between the 15th and the 25th of September because heads of state will gather again in New York to take stock of what has happened on the Sustainable Development Goals because we are at the midpoint. And we want to create a huge amount of pressure, so that the ambition of the action that they will be taking is higher. We want to really have people inspiring their leaders to be more ambitious.

[35:28] Kara Pecknold: And when we think about taking action in the toolkit, as you say, there’s going to be social media filters and different tools. Are there going to be things that say, this is literally what you could be doing to address Zero Hunger? Or how would somebody get to know the real actions they can take? Photos and things like that are great ways. But are there things that really can become internalized for people when we think about these particular five SDG goals? How are we helping equip the actual action beyond the campaign messaging?

[36:02] Marina Ponti: Of course, social media is great in terms of the visibility and in terms of showing different people from different countries joined together, I think, that sense of togetherness. But the action that we are pushing, we’ve partnered with a couple of apps that actually monitor the impact of individual action. One is Act Now. There is another new partner, which is called Core, so you will find everything in the toolkit where people actually take action. It can be something like they eat less meat, they travel less, they use less water, they use public transportation, and the impact is tracked. And there are rewards in a kind of gamification. But also some of our partners organized during that window from the 15th to the 25th of September, they’re organizing planting trees, they organized beach cleaning, they organized workshops to explain, you know, to talk about some of this topic. They organized demonstrations, they organized concerts. So there are a lot of actions. Some are individuals. Some are led by communities. Some are led by parliamentarians, mayors and celebrities. And then of course, the more important ones are also those that lead to behavior change. And some of these apps which you will find in the toolkit help you track what you’re doing and reward you as you go along.

[37:36] Kara Pecknold: I just want to allude to maybe this artifact and the role of artifacts. So the ribbon that we are wearing, you could say a photo is an artifact. These are creative assets that put things out in the world. There’s a lot of them in the world. We’ve been here at Cannes where we see many people wearing different kinds of ribbons. But what do you think the role of something physical, tangible—something that you put your hand on. What role does that play in helping to motivate? Or do you have any feelings around that need for something quite tactile, to be able to help to activate and motivate people?

[38:11] Marina Ponti: It’s very important to have a symbol. So then, when you go around, when you see people, when people are taking a picture of you when you go on TV, without saying many words, you are conveying a message. So we have the bracelet now on these five very important themes. This is a symbol of the SDGs. And a few years ago, in one government, the Prime Minister basically decided to all ministers that in every ministerial meeting, they all had to wear this because then on the press conferences when they were discussing the different topics, this will be conveyed. So wearing a symbol helps to increase the messaging, because you endorse something and you communicate it even if you’re talking about something else. And the second point is that when you go around and you see other people wearing the same pin or wearing the same bracelet, you feel tied to the community. And this is also very important.

[39:21] Kara Pecknold: So maybe last question for you, the whole campaign is focusing on Unite to Act, but I want to step away from the campaign. And I want to talk about your collaboration uniting with frog to be able to actually execute on this and get there. Can you tell us just a little bit about what the collaboration has been like? What have you found has worked really well, or have been key factors that you actually need in a good collaboration with a creative partner to be able to really make the campaign come to life?

[39:50] Marina Ponti: We’re a very complex animal, you know, the UN. We are very global. And global is beautiful to say, “Oh, I’m global.” But then that being global somehow implies having so many restrictions in terms of symbols or images that may work in a country or in a region, but have a different meaning in other parts of the world. We really spent a lot of time trying to understand each other. And, I think we landed on a beautiful concept which is simple. I think in this context, also in the global context in which we operate with the campaign, that it’s so positive is also very important. And so, yeah, very excited.

[40:39] Kara Pecknold: Marina, I want to thank you so much for joining us. It has been lovely to have you here. It’s been lovely to see the ribbons come on to everyone’s arms here. We know there’s more stories to tell. We know we’ll be watching for what’s happening in July when the toolkit launches. We’ll be watching and joining in with you when we see the campaign activated in September. And then we look forward to hearing the results and the impact and the things that come out of it when you are talking to heads of state and really pushing the narrative forward. So thank you for joining us in Cannes. Thank you.

[41:10] Marina Ponti: Thank you. Such a pleasure.

[41:12] Elizabeth Wood: That’s our show. The Design Mind frogcast was brought to you by frog, a leading global creative consultancy that is part of Capgemini Invent. Check today’s show notes for transcripts and more from our conversation.

[41:24] Elizabeth Wood: You’ll also find a link to the lookbook showcasing the frog + Machina capsule collection ‘Clothed in Chaos.’ As well as an article called ‘Apocalypse Gown,’ a piece written by Kara Pecknold about the role of regenerative design in the future of fashion. Finally, there’s a link to learn more about Unite to Act, the latest development from the UN SDG Action Campaign. Find out how you can get involved today.

[41:48] Elizabeth Wood: We really want to thank our guests for this episode, frog Vice President of Regenerative Design Kara Pecknold, Oliver Lange, Head of H&Mbeyond, Marina Ponti, Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign and Clément Chenut, Circular Economy Leader at Capgemini Invent. Thanks to everyone who joined us live at Cannes Lions Festival 2023, including today’s podcast guests, our hosts from frog, plus experts at Forrester, L’Oreal, JP Morgan Chase, AC Milan, Adobe and Cambridge Consultants, and all of our guests who also joined us for this podcast series from Pitch, the Royal Commission for Al-‘Ula, Sanofi, Mercedes-Benz Mobility, Philip Morris International, Nestlé and Marketing Week. It was an incredible festival full of inspiring provocations and rich discussion. Thanks for helping us keep the conversation going here on the Design Mind frogcast. Stay tuned for our regularly scheduled programming of stories from and conversations with expert guests from across frog, our partner organizations, and friends from brands we love around the world.

[42:54] Elizabeth Wood: We also want to thank you, dear listener. If you like what you heard, tell your friends. Rate and review to help others find us on Apple Podcasts and  Spotify . And be sure to follow us wherever you listen to podcasts. Find lots more to think about from our global frog team at frog.co/designmind. That’s frog.co. Follow frog on Twitter at @frogdesign and @frog_design on Instagram. And if you have any thoughts about the show, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out at frog.co/contact. Thanks for listening. Now go make your mark. 

Kara Pecknold
Vice President of Regenerative Design, frog
Kara Pecknold
Kara Pecknold
Vice President of Regenerative Design, frog

Kara Pecknold is a Vice President of Regenerative Design at frog. For 20+ years, she has been supporting her clients to transform their products, services, teams and business models. As a global lead of sustainability within the Capgemini Group, she works at the intersection of people and planet by marrying creativity with science to better shape the future of the Next Economy organization.

Elizabeth Wood
Host, Design Mind frogcast & Editorial Director, frog Global Marketing
Elizabeth Wood
Elizabeth Wood
Host, Design Mind frogcast & Editorial Director, frog Global Marketing

Elizabeth tells design stories for frog. She first joined the New York studio in 2011, working on multidisciplinary teams to design award-winning products and services. Today, Elizabeth works out of the London studio on the global frog marketing team, leading editorial content.

She has written and edited hundreds of articles about design and technology, and has given talks on the role of content in a weird, digital world. Her work has been published in The Content Strategist, UNDO-Ordinary magazine and the book Alone Together: Tales of Sisterhood and Solitude in Latin America (Bogotá International Press).

Previously, Elizabeth was Communications Manager for UN OCHA’s Centre for Humanitarian Data in The Hague. She is a graduate of the Master’s Programme for Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London.

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