I’m immensely proud to be elected Jury Chairman of D&AD Impact, which I regard as the most important award in our industry, as its honouring ideas that drive sustainable change. It’s a lighthouse in our industry – showcasing that our industry and creativity specifically can be part of the solution. Since 2013, I’ve followed and judged D&AD when they inaugurated the White Pencil, which has now become part of D&AD Impact.

What I’m looking for?

As usual, I’m looking for ideas that delivers on impact, impact and impact. I can’t stress this enough. This is not campaign tomfoolery, what’s the measurable change your initiative is delivering? Litres of water saved? % change in perception? Lowered mortality rates? Make sure, you add those numbers. Secondly, I have a firm eye on scalability. We’re faced with many fires at the same time – and we need to act fast and at scale. And scalable ideas can be local – maybe the change that’s being done in Mozambique can be replicated in Bangladesh? Lastly, I want innovative ideas. The advertising industry often disappoints me, when it comes to bringing innovation to the impact space, there are too many gimmicks, too much short-termism. Innovation takes time. One of the highlights for me was a project that’s been awarded some years back called Doconomy, putting a carbon estimate on your credit card spending. What began as an idea has become a fast-growing start-up in its own right that recently received 17M USD in funding.

Trends, say what?

I’m seeing more climate initiatives, which I’m happy about as they’ve been lacking, but there are still so many opportunities for innovation and fresh ideas. So for any creative or entrepreneur out there, give it your best shot. Diversity is an important topic and I do witness plenty of work in the category, but the work itself is becoming more diverse as well – and putting the + behind the LBTQ+. One issue I feel is lacking attention is poverty. There are few and far between good initiatives helping those at the bottom at the pyramid, that again with the pandemic has been hit hardest, so please, solutions are needed.

Not just an award, it’s an accelerator

What I’m also passionate about is the fact that D&AD Impact is not simply an award, but through Future Impact, people can submit impactful projects from around the world and, if they win, they’ll be joining the Impact Programme, where they’ll over a year receive valuable advice and help from some of the best people working in impact called The Impact Council. There are even a 25K GBP funding prize to help those ideas accelerate. I’ll really encourage anyone with an impactful idea to submit to Future Impact and be part of the programme. Last year, I witnessed how a bra targeting transgender people has moved from being an idea on the drawing board to becoming ready to hit the shelves together with a big global sports retailer. That’s what the programme can do.

I’ll encourage you to submit work in Impact or Future Impact – and can’t wait to judge it and hopefully we’ll meet at the Impact Programme. Be the change!


© 2020 Thomas Kolster. All Rights Reserved.

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