What3Words, the British company that maps the world with a series of three-word addresses, has won the Grand Prix in Innovation at Cannes this year. It came out on top of what Innovation jury president Nick Law, R/GA’s global chief creative officer, described as the best body of work he’d ever seen in his years of judging at Cannes.
Jury member Ben Jones, AKQA’s chief technology officer, praised What3Words’ ability to “solve a massive problem for humanity with a beautiful touch of simplicity.” Jones said, “What3Words is substantial in the impact it has had and is already out there working and saving lives.”
The What3Words system finds remote locations in the world by dividing the entire globe into 57 trillion three-by-three meter squares, and assigns each one a three-word address. Nick Law said that although the jury was “pretty consistent” across the board, there had been a debate over whether the Grand Prix winner was “creative.” This, he said, was because What3Words represents “systematic creative thinking” as opposed to narrative creative thinking. Law added that the jury found the entries difficult to compare because they fell into two categories–technology on behalf of brands and systematic technology, where the tech itself is creative.
The jury awarded seven Innovation Lions in total. R/GA New York won two–one for Bioranger created for Diagenetix, and another for Owlet, the child health monitor for Owlet BabyCare. Chinese internet giant Baidu’s Smart Chopsticks, which detect whether food has gone bad, also won a Lion, while the Clever Buoy smart shark detector created by M&C Saatchi Sydney for Optus was also awarded.
Other winners included Luxottica’s Penny The Pirate, an interactive eye check for kids by Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney, Life Saving Dot for Talwar Bindi by Grey Group Singapore, and Ach2o for Panasonic by Maruri Grey.