Spikes Asia speakers share their insights on Asian creativity and innovation ahead of this year’s Festival
A Q&A with Linna Zhao, Head of Insights, Wavemaker China, and Azhar Shah, Managing Director, PLUS China, Wavemaker, who will present ‘The Future of Chinese Women 2030’ on the Spikes Asia Festival’s Spotlight Stage.
Why is Asia such an exciting place to be creatively?
Azhar Shah: Asian consumers generally lean very positively into technology and rapidly adopt new innovations that can improve their lives in any way, and governments heavily support technology development or adoption. As such, the pace of change exhibited in Asia is huge and it’s easy to observe how countries like China and Korea are leapfrogging ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to innovation. From a personal point-of-view, the diversity of cultures across, as well as within countries, and a generally younger population in many Asian countries makes for a wonderful mix of influences that can inject more creativity into everyone’s work.
The Spikes Asia 2019 theme is ‘Asia Rising’ – where does Asia Pacific industry excel?
Linna Zhao: The blurring borders between Asia Pacific countries will uplift innovation to an even greater level, alongside the transformational shift from manufacturing industries to service industries, and a large labor force who are freed by AI technologies.
What are you most looking forward to about Spikes Asia?
Azhar Shah: The impressive line-up and range of speakers! In terms of topics, I have a great passion for cultural relevance and I’m looking forward to understanding more about how culture is developing in other Asian countries, whilst effectiveness is the mainstay of most conversations I have with clients. Finally, being a strategist at heart, it’s always great to learn from others on creative techniques to solve business problems.
Linna Zhao: I want to hear pioneering voices and discover trends, not just from Asia Pacific, but also the world.
What can we expect from your session, what will you be discussing?
Linna Zhao: We’ll discuss the reasons why the world needs to pay real attention to China, apart from its economic power. Chinese women, on top of the rise of the country, will be a leading force to make impact in the world, with both “hard” and “soft” power. We will share our learning from observing the evolvement of Chinese women, the future illustrated by them, and the implications for marketers.
Azhar Shah: At Wavemaker, our mission is to “make the future” and we intentionally chose to understand a much longer-term perspective as an inspiration for brands to plan over the next decade, especially given the rapidly changing environment in China, which requires a much more agile planning mindset in the shorter-term.
Which country in Asia Pacific excites you most creatively and why?
Linna Zhao: China. It is an extremely diverse and decentralized place with a great foundation for innovation: a large talent base, high levels of education and a rapid growth of different industries.
The speed of innovation (especially “micro innovation”) and the utility of new technology are making the country more vigorous than ever before. With the continuous development, and the fusion of its culture with other cultures, China will be a one of the key forces to drive innovation and creativity cross the globe.