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Dubai Lynx is more than a festival for creativity

Actual learning experiences take place at the annual ad industry event

Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News Archives
Delegates at the Dubai Lynx screening workshops last year. At Lynx, there won’t just be seminars and forums peppered withthought leaders, but focused academies dedicated to intensive and guided learning experiences
Gulf News

In the region ‘learning’ and Dubai ‘Lynx’ has become as synonymous as learning and Cannes ‘Lions’ has globally, and with good reason. There are significant issues facing all sectors working in the ad business, driven in the main by the speed of technological change.

That, at least, is not going to change.

A digital-savvy younger generation needs learning because they still need to know how to manage and what to manage. The more experienced managers also need it to stay relevant. And to continue managing the people they empower, they must understand the changing face of business.

Marketers need it because it is them spending the money and they do need to understand where it is being spent, how the world is changing, and how to communicate to their agencies.

And they all need it because they need to be in sync with the most important person — the consumer.

That is why you are seeing at Lynx, not just seminars and forums peppered with thought leaders from all over the world and locally, but focused academies dedicated to intensive and guided learning experiences.

As we have seen at Cannes, we are now seeing at Lynx. These are growing year on year, not surprising given the quality of learning — where else can you be taught not just by the academic fraternity but by leaders that have been in the field, been at the front and are now passing on real-life experience of how to succeed in their chosen field.

That should be viewed through the quality of speakers that come to Lynx to address the industry. It says something about the region that year after year Lynx attracts some of the leading creative thinkers in our business from around the globe. This year, we once again have reached a high with people like Eric Vervroegen, international creative director at Publicis Worldwide; Gian Carlo Lanfranco, senior creative of Fred&Farid, Paris and Shanghai; and Sonal Dobral, chairman and chief creative officer of DDB Mudra in India.

On that point, the Lions Festivals now has three events running in Asia and it is interesting to watch the dynamics at our two events in China — one in Shanghai and the other in Beijing. Such is the willingness and wish to learn that once delegates arrive, they stay put. They just sit and take it all in, seminar after seminar.

They really want to learn and understand and, I suspect, there is a lesson in there all for us in terms of really getting stuck in to get the very best from the experience.

On the topic of learning, if you are lucky enough to attend Lynx, don’t keep it all to yourself. Take it back to your associates in the office, take it back to your clients, spread the word. Not only will it help you and them in the long run, but it may just mean that the effort you make will be seen and that Lynx will become a permanent fixture on your annual programme.

Seems to me that times are fast approaching, if not already reached, when festivals like Cannes Lions and Dubai Lynx do not come from the “festivals” budget but from the “training and development “ budget.


— The writer is Chairman of Lions Festivals, which organises Dubai Lynx. This year, The Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity takes place from March 10 to 13 at Madinat Jumeirah.