In their most recent eBook DMN spoke to Group XP’s Chief Growth Officer Iain Ellwood on the ongoing battle between data and creativity.


Businesses love to capitalize on market imperfections. Today’s gap between the data haves and have-nots is the widest it’s ever been. So the current arms race to embed data, analytics, and artificial intelligence is a wonderful opportunity to drive growth. But we can already begin to see that as every company builds data and programmatic capabilities, this corporate drug is starting to lose its efficacy. The marketplace will level out rapidly, regaining its equilibrium and reducing any competitive advantage.

Brands that solely follow this efficiency paradigm will quickly find themselves on a downward spiral as customers disengage from prescriptive, lifeless content. We’ve already seen that the technical constraints of mobile phone screens and limited voice commands has had a reductive impact on visual, tactile, and aural expression of brands. Memes; “Swipe left”; “OK, Google.” It’s neither Balzac nor Picasso. Only outstanding creativity can provide a robust enough foil to the logic of the machine. It comes back to the necessity for powerful ideas. Imagination, emotions, the random vivacity of life — these are the things that truly persuade people to engage and buy.

To be successful, these need to begin in the world of consumers, not the corporation. Only ideas rooted in culture can emotionally connect and engage people, and far better than those that are derived as the result of logic. They provide depth, texture, and interest in place of precision, order, and process.

Of course, there is hope and green shoots: The creative rise of text language or emojis is a refreshing way to overcome digital constraints. Crowdsourcing and user-generated content can be refreshing and inspirational. But outsourcing idea generation to your consumer is not a longterm growth strategy.

By all means, sharpen and connect the pipework; but snub creativity at your peril.

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