President’s Playlist: Innovation Lions

Claudia Cristovao, Head of Google Brand Studio, APAC, Google and Jury President of the Innovation Lions for 2021 shares ten favourite Lion-winning pieces of work from over the years. Here, Claudia considers ground-breaking innovation, technology and problem solving.

Changing the Game, Microsoft, McCann USA, 2019

Designing to include people with disabilities makes the product better for everyone. Never has there been a slicker or more lovable Microsoft console. Flawlessly executed all the way to the external packaging, the Adaptive Controller was the answer to gamers who just wanted to even the playing field - and it was made according to feedback and needs. An illuminating and inspiring move.

Google DeepMind AlphaGo, Google London, 2016

This is the project that became the paradigm for innovation: groundbreaking, compelling and pointing the way forward in how we live and interact with AI. The fact that it draws on a 2,500-year-old game only made the achievement more compelling. The fact that it served up amazing drama only made the poignancy of our relationship with our own creations more compelling. Food for (the artificial) thought.

Edible Six Pack Rings, Saltwater Brewery, We Believers New York, 2016

One of the many answers to plastics in the ocean, but one that goes a step further: not just biodegradable, the packaging is actually edible. A beer brand taking sobering responsibility for the packaging excess that surrounds us, with an elegant answer. Will it solve the problem? Maybe not, but it’s a good piece of the solution.

#BrailleBricksForAll, Dorina Nowill, TBWA São Paulo

Wonderful work, connecting play and learning but also allowing children who can and can’t see to interact together. Braille letters as building blocks get children to learn, play, undo and start again. So simple.

See Sound, Wavio, Area 23

There’s been a surge in innovation directed at under-served communities. This is a great example, making sound visible for those with hearing difficulties, but better still, recognising the types of sounds or alarms - which provides crucial information.

ThisAbles, IKEA, McCann Tel Aviv

A small idea with enormous potential, made by the very people it will help. The ultimate IKEA hack, it allows users to print several accessories that optimise IKEA pieces for people with different types of disabilities. Small scale innovation with large scale effects.

Tilt Brush, Google Mountain View

Innovation in its purest: technology as magic.

For some innovations, the first iteration may not find a lasting place in the world. But innovation of this kind makes us marvel, and the wonder opens up ways of thinking and possibilities we did not have before. This is one of those rare works.


LandCruiser Emergency Network, Toyota, Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney

One of the best spaces for innovation has been the recurring quest for solutions in connectivity and communication tools. This project is a smart, thoughtful answer - and one that could potentially be used in many other places. It’s also a great, ownable solution that shows the brand playing outside of the usual, very strict, category codes, while staying true to its core values.

I'm ADA, I can help. ADA Health Inc, KBS Albion London

As we go through the full impact of a global pandemic, connecting medical knowledge, AI and digital distance seem like an increasingly useful proposition. ADA is robust and concise, but also reassuring and simple to understand. It seamlessly filters the user towards a medical practitioner and it points the way for a whole industry that is ready for innovation at a large scale.

Roads That Honk, HPCL, Leo Burnett Mumbai

There has been very little innovation in road safety that is not directed at drivers and vehicles. This solution is striking as it suggests the road itself, exceptionally dangerous, should hold its own warnings. An effective and universally useful solution that could easily punctuate many roads around the world.