Adobe MAX graphic.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been riding a wave of inspiration since we wrapped up Adobe MAX late last week.

Each year, the event provides a forum for creatives to come together, share ideas and become familiar with new tools and innovations in their field.

But as creativity climbs up the list of competitive advantages in today’s business climate, the event has also become a hot ticket for digital leaders in Asia Pacific.

This year’s MAX APAC Executive Program delivered the insights we need to build business environments where creative potential, collaboration and careers can thrive.

Special guest and best-selling author of The Algorithmic Leader Mike Walsh delivered a keynote address outlining the rules for our brave new world.

Special guest and best-selling author of The Algorithmic Leader Mike Walsh

Special guest and best-selling author of The Algorithmic Leader Mike Walsh

The address was followed by a fireside chat with Mike and two of our region’s most celebrated digital leaders: Jana Kotatko, CEO Belong and Ton Chirathivat, President, The 1- Central Group.

In case you missed it, I’ve reflected on some of my key takeaways from the informative and engaging session.

There’s no digital disruption – just digital delivery.

Mike Walsh began his keynote address saying that the pandemic has brought the world of 2030 forward by a decade. Today, we’re living and breathing our new digital reality, and there’s no going back.

In other words, if you’re not a digital business in today’s climate, you’re essentially no longer in business.

One tip Mike had for staying ahead in this digital landscape is to look closely at your current and future customer base – particularly young people.

I absolutely love this point.

Whether it’s platforms like TikTok and Spotify, or online retail brands like The Iconic and Amazon, the tastes and preferences of younger generations have been shaped by algorithms and data.

For brands, this means the expectations of future customers are going to be based on their childhood experiences with tools such as automation and AI.

As a result, it’s incumbent on today’s digital leaders to craft hyper-personalised customer experiences that not only meet but exceed these lofty expectations.

Mike suggests that one way we can do this is by taking attention away from the product or transaction and focusing on the experience.

For Thai loyalty brand The 1 (a subsidiary of Central Group), this has been a three-year journey where they’ve transformed a loyalty retail card into a digital lifestyle platform.

President of The 1 – Central Group Ton Chirathivat

President of The 1 – Central Group Ton Chirathivat

“The 1 was originally a small support tool for large corporations, to move forward and break away from that, we needed to create a new business model,” explained Ton Chirathivat during the live fireside chat.

“This meant making decisions faster and outside of the traditional channels. It is about creating unlimited possibilities of how we can improve our customer experience and create new businesses.”

Connecting data to the creative process.

As fans of The Crown eagerly await the show’s fifth season, it’s hard to believe it might never have existed without some savvy data analysis.

When the series was first pitched to TV networks, it was rejected. The algorithms at Netflix, however, found the concept had great potential.

Mike said that during the creation of the series, Netflix had data engineers sit with scriptwriters to advise how it should be written. They were even able to make casting suggestions and decisions based on audience statistics.

It’s a fascinating example of how content and audience preference data can be used to make smarter strategic decisions, as evidenced by the show’s millions of views around the world.

The same principle is being deployed in many other businesses too. As Mike explained:

“The ability to use data to pinpoint areas we can be most effective, is going to be key in the future of the creative industries, business world and any AI powered project.”

For Jana Kotatko, CEO at Belong (a subsidiary of Telstra), data and AI has powered the diverse and creative decision making behind the company’s large-scale transformation.

Belong CEO Jana Kotatko

“When a group of people with very different capabilities and mindsets solve company problems, the speed and quality of decisions improve,” says Jana.

Telstra had been sitting on a data lake and decision engine technology for years. When it brought this data to engineers and marketers, they were able to unlock the potential of that cognitive diversity.

“In the last few years, I have been blown away. It has exceeded all my expectations in terms of the way we now create value for customers and shareholders,” she said.

The examples I’m sharing today really only scratch the surface of what attendees took away from the MAX APAC Executive Program.

It’s clear that data is intrinsic to creative thinking and problem solving in today’s organisations. And I’m more eager than ever to see what Adobe and our customers can achieve together from here on out.

CTA: If you’d like to catch up on the Adobe MAX APAC 2021 Business Track sessions on-demand, you can view the sessions here

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ahmedaljanahy Creative Designer @al.janahy Founder of @inkhost I hope to stay passionate in what I doing

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