The Lion for Creative Data is awarded to marketing teams for work that creates harmony between data and ideas. This year at Cannes Lions, the Creative Data category’s jury president is Marc Maleh, global director of Havas. Maleh joined AListDaily to talk about how data is driving conversation this year and why the unknown is so exciting.

This will be the second time Maleh attends Cannes Lions, the first being two years ago when he served as a Creative Data juror. “It’s a lot of work but it’s an honor,” he told AListDaily.

For Maleh, his favorite part of attending the creative festival is becoming a vessel for ideas that can be carried home with him.

“One of the most important things about [attending Cannes Lions] is the information that you gather and the memories that you get that you share with your team,” said Maleh. “Not everyone gets to go. We’re always in these bubbles whether that’s an industry or clients you work with or city you live in and there’s so much amazing work out there. For me, it’s all about taking all that information and sharing it with people who didn’t have the benefit of being there to get inspired by all the awesome work.

How does your experience inform your judging and voting?

Most of the work I’ve done is closer to product work as opposed to more traditional marketing. I come from a technology background so I want [to see] work that is thought through in a way that is not advertising. Data has been used in media forever, basically, and now I think it’s exciting that you have all these systems and data [that] can now be an ingredient in product development and continues to be an ingredient in media. What I look for is how they’re being used. How are they being used to impact an overall customer experience?

I [also] look for things that are leaving the advertising world. Exciting [campaigns] for me are when people outside the advertising industry know about the work, and not because they saw a TV commercial. To me, that is really awesome. It really shouldn’t be something that was only in the advertising world.

How do you think the marketing industry perceives itself in 2018?

I think the industry has changed a little bit and is a little more sensitive as to how it communicates with consumers about the use of data. I think there’s going to be a lot of discussion at Cannes about data in general primarily because of everything that is going on in the world like GDPR. Net neutrality is probably going to be a topic of discussion, [as well as] what’s going on with Facebook.

All of those things have a very direct impact, for obvious reasons, on the advertising industry, but they also have a direct impact on ethics and the morality of how we advertise and use data to make better products for our consumers.

Ethics and morality—specifically with the use of data— should be a big part of some of the conversations and even the way you look at the work being judged.

What are you most excited for in the coming years?

To me, coming from a technology background, what’s exciting to me is the unknown. These new interfaces have been popping up over the past couple of years, like voice and well before that, mobile in general. Now you see data and AI and all the systems out there and the notion of new types of interfaces is really interesting and exciting to me. Especially now with such deep commitments from the phone manufacturers, what’s exciting to me is how this business is always changing the way we’re interacting with consumers.

Last year chatbots were a big trend, voice continues to be a trend . . . the more things change, the more talent in the industry needs to learn and pivot the way they work. After all, how do you concept for things that aren’t even here yet if you’re a strategist?