LIONS GOOD NEWS was initiated in 2020 by the Cannes Lions Japan representative as a response to the festival's first-ever cancellation. The concept is “NEW THINGS CAN COME FROM HISTORY.” In the face of the ever-evolving communication landscape reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, we sift through the extensive Cannes Lions archives to present fresh solutions to contemporary challenges. LIONS GOOD NEWS 2024 tackles the specific issue of diminished social interactions, a concern highlighted by our recent survey. While advertisement is often compared to writing love letters, the modalities of making new acquaintances have evolved in the same way that traditional letters have given way to emails and other modern communication forms. LIONS GOOD NEWS 2024 encourages you to explore diverse ways of connecting with others, inspired by the historical and current masterpieces showcased at Cannes Lions.

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Communication issues during the COVID-19 pandemic

In October 2022, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WWF released the Living Planet Report 2022. The report stated that the health of nature and biodiversity has decreased by 69% over the past 50 years. The power of communication is required at all times to solve these global environmental issues. One perceived communication issue is properly conveying slightly complicated information based on scientific knowledge and data to as many people as possible. Environmental issues involve many actors and stakeholders, but as more people get involved, the words, actions, and situations from their perspectives and intentions become intertwined. In addition, as system thinking exemplifies, if we do not approach complex environmental issues as a single system from a wide perspective, even if we solve one issue optimally, another issue will eventually surface, and we will fall into a negative loop in which we are unable to globally optimize. And if an explanation is too complicated and difficult to say in a single phrase, people hesitate when communicating and talking to others, or they give too much evidence trying to be accurate, resulting in lengthy descriptions. We focus on the various intentions of information providers, various situations of information receivers, and how to connect them accurately and appropriately.

When tackling these issues, the first thing we value is a method of solving social issues called the Theory of Change. In order to view the situation from a wide perspective, we use a method called stakeholder mapping to write down what kind of people are involved in environmental issues and visualize the relationships. The next step is to do direct hearings. We look for insights into what the people involved are thinking and what they want to do under what circumstances. Then, we develop specific strategies by pinpointing the leverage points, bottlenecks, and points of engagement between the information sender and the receiver. Lastly, we do creative jumps to exercise our creativity. We either going back and forth through the process or run a prototype first, and update our communication measures incrementally. While taking these steps, we communicate clearly without using vague words.

In the next stage, we use SAVE NATURE PLEASE, a behavioral change framework for environmental conservation promoted by the WWF (https://www.wwf.or.jp/campaign/snp/). Execution is just as important as logical clarity, if not more so, controlling the expression quality of the final output—whether it makes someone smile, be deeply moved, or want to talk—greatly affects how whether the message is communicated. The WWF focuses on changing people's awareness and behaviors using behavioral science. Peoples' awareness and behaviors cause environmental issues, but they can also solve them. Part of the framework is NATURE, a set of behavioral rules that should be considered in the execution process. For example, “Normal” means it is essential to have a social identity in the community and normalize behaviors in said community by spreading them and mutually supporting each other. “Rewarding” means that people are affected in incentives and disincentives and take deliberate actions to avoid losses, so we polish our expression techniques by applying TIPS and success cases.

In addition to these guidelines and frameworks, we think it will be increasingly important to choose who to work with. In order to make even bigger social impacts, it is essential to not just use resources within the walls of NGOs, NPOs, and organizations, but to garner empathy and cooperate with people outside. We must look for creative people to cooperate with who can bring about overall optimization, not just partial. We believe that in order to be discovered by those people and garner their interest, we must constantly communicate what we are thinking and want to do.

Based on that policy, WWF Japan has spent recent years working on a campaign to prevent wild animals under the threat of extinction from being kept as pets (https://www.wwf.or.jp/campaign/uranokao). In a survey on people's awareness of raising wild animals as pets, 68% of respondents said that they were not knowledgeable about extinction, poaching, smuggling, and other risks. In order to change the awareness of those who want to raise wild animals that face these risks, we have started making and publicizing videos in which zookeepers explain the animals' ecology, behaviors, and difficulties and risks in raising them. We want people to know that these animals should not be raised as pets no matter how cute they are, and we have received wide approval.

Actions that the world should pay attention to, and practicing communication

We are currently focusing on “nature positive.” There is news on carbon neutrality and sustainability from every direction. In order to create a decarbonized society, countries are making their responsibilities and targets regarding climate change clear while making concrete efforts toward decarbonization. Biodiversity will be the next hot topic. As mentioned at the beginning, in order to make up for the 69% loss in biodiversity in the last 50 years, we are taking actions to reverse the curve and recover by 2030. At the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in December 2022, several decisions were adopted, including one to turn at least 30% of the land, inland water, and ocean areas in the world into nature preserves. Each country made concrete goals, including those in areas related to people's livelihoods—government, economy, and finance—and they are about to begin working toward them. Please watch our Nature Positive movement.

Our communication staff are also regularly engaged in the various successful research mentioned here. The globally praised award-winning cases here are full of creative ideas that have contributed to solving social issues and serve as study material. Our staff visit ad museums and other places and attend case explanation seminars to explore why they bring about results and move hearts. We believe we should not only look at the issues we are tackling, but also at many other things broadly without thinking about them too much. Our site offers an “Outside-the-Box Search” experience powered by the Open AI ChatGPT, and I think it is an excellent effort to intentionally or unintentionally avoid the recent filter bubbles and create new encounters. The famous book “A Technique for Producing Ideas” (authored by James W. Young and published by CCC Media House) says that new ideas are combinations of existing ideas, and first of all you should gather information from every aspect. To actually improve the accuracy and quality of ideas, we believe it is important to learn about many subjects on this site that might be unrelated to you, read about them deeply, and think about how they can help solve issues openly without bias.

WWF Japan (World Wide Fund for Nature Japan)

The WWF is an environmental conservation organization founded in Switzerland in 1961 that is active in more than 100 countries. It promotes the creation of a sustainable society, aiming for a future where people and nature can live in harmony. In order to restore the abundant, but rapidly disappearing, biodiversity and create a decarbonized society to prevent global warming, it promotes the conservation of rare wildlife and sustainable production and consumption.

Head of the Brand Communication Office of WWF Japan (World Wide Fund for Nature Japan)

Tomonori Watanabe

Majored in International Relations and Communication Studies. After graduating, he worked at an advertising company in public relations, marketing, and promotion, and as a copywriter and commercial planner. In 2007, he joined Save the Children Japan as head of communications, and in 2015 joined WWF Japan (World Wide Fund for Nature Japan) as head of brand communication. He is currently working on promoting change in awareness and behavior regarding global environmental conservation.

I had a look at Lions Good News 2023, and let's just say it made me realize just how dated my perspective on things is, weighed down by conventional values and old biases. What I'm trying to get at is that you almost have to prepare yourself for the endeavor of looking for answers on this site, whether you want to learn about NPOs, be in the know, or just look things up you've come across on the internet. If you told someone that you're struggling to find answers these days, you'd most likely be told that it's important to try to be more logical and efficient in the way you search for them. This site goes against that and says maybe looking for shortcuts to answers is not a good thing after all, with its “OUT-OF-THE-BOX SEARCH,” which is like a search bar to search for unrelated things. Now, although it takes a little more time to find the answers you're looking for, this search bar encourages discovery by deliberately taking you just a little further away from the destination and bringing you to a delightful find you never thought you would—a serendipity, if you'd like—that foreshadows a change in our approach to searching for things. I'd say the current trend that's taking away the joy of researching things on the side, which is almost akin to a brisk walk around the block, has made surfing the Internet—an activity that should evoke curiosity and the mind—a boring endeavor that hinders the creativity that could potentially come from it. It may have also ruined so many opportunities for innovation, the thing we've been told over and over again is so important.

Massive corporations like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon have always believed in shortcuts to answers and have kept fine-tuning algorithms since 2007. Unfortunately, these algorithms that personalize our online experience have made it so we only encounter information and opinions that conform to and reinforce our own beliefs. With the arrival of ChatGPT, however, we'll likely see a big change. I am certain that these shortcuts and “if A, then B” patterns of logical thinking for finding solutions we now often see have limited our imaginations. A friend of mine who's an artist once referred to the way we approach finding answers as “cause and effect.” It is the relationship between what we do to get there that forms and almost forces us to believe what we consider to be common sense. OUT-OF-THE-BOX SEARCH uses ChatGPT to help change what we thought was common sense and the bad habits that are the source of such preconceived ideas. When you actually try to search something on it, it goes beyond just simply giving you search results with words that have the opposite meaning of what you put in, and you'll soon realize it really does give you something totally unrelated. In quantum mechanics, you can do the same thing again and again and get different results, and that's how this search bar felt. You'd think there would only be one right answer, but you'll find contradictory ones that exist in many different places. The age of “cause and effect,” where things are easily relatable to each other, might just be over. In fact, as crazy as it might sound, OUT-OF-THE-BOX SEARCH made me think of the start of a new democracy in an era where everyone has a different answer instead of only one answer, or, in other words, one that does away with rulers and puts an emphasis on our independence. Now, we live in a world where a hundred people can all have different answers from different perspectives that all have some truth and should be accepted and respected, i.e., a world of “Inclusive Capitalism” as proposed by Forbes.

You can also look at ChatGPT as a tool that can make us think more artistically and outside the box. Like I've mentioned, our imaginations are limited by what we've done and what we've learned up until now. Creators and artists are the ones who are able to go beyond that, and many struggles to follow suit. There are, however, some business leaders who have realized that the answer does not lie in what has up until now been seen as common sense and are trying to understand the way these artists and creators think by devoting themselves to art. I believe artists find inspiration in places we're not looking, which just might give us hints to how we should approach things in the future, and ChatGPT will most likely enable people to do the same, which will bring faster changes to many areas. It is almost like some invisible force is being added to how things are changing, and a totally different future is waiting for us, contrary to my friend's idea of “cause and effect” that I mentioned earlier. We are heading toward chaos as existing social rules and rationality become obsolete and as we move away from what we thought was the right way to think about things. A world with ChatGPT will enable us to experience the destructive and creative forces hidden in art and shake up this process of steadily building on what we know.

OUT-OF-THE-BOX SEARCH isn't going to turn the world upside down, but it will help bring about changes in the way we think so that we are no longer limited by words and break away towards new ways of thinking. Speaking of words, am I the only one who thinks that certain ones like “innovation” feel a little old now? It's almost like many of the words we still hear today have aged from the times when they were often used. The spirit of these words tend to stay with us. OUT-OF-THE-BOX SEARCH makes us forget about these words and brings us new things and even new words, which are all the more exciting. It basically creates new concepts by deliberately combining two words that may not be interchangeable. It's close to what copywriters do to create new sensations by combining different words in a sort of time machine that surpasses the words of our world.

Going back to the topic of NPOs that this site is trying to help, I think it would be hard for them to do something about their struggle to connect with new supporters with the way things are currently done. We live in a capitalist world where we still decide whether or not to do something based on whether it will make us a profit or not. Although NPOs don't aim to make a profit, they are supposed to raise funds and show the results of their efforts, but I'd bet this will also see change going forward. People will look at NPOs differently as we head into the future of VR and move away from the prejudices and biases of the real world. Many of us are unaware of the biases we have toward things like age and appearance in the physical world. VR frees us of this and enables us to show off the talents we all possess so we can be evaluated in a fairer way. This will lead to movements for inclusion picking up speed in virtual spaces becoming the norm. I think these spaces will also be great for disadvantaged minorities to be and express who they are. It is indeed now that this kind of world is becoming a reality, and it is a perfect time for NPOs to show others their goals for what they are—to make the world a better place that has more sympathy for others and, in turn, be recognized as having a meaningful existence. The way we judge whether something is useful to society has changed, and more people will surely approve of the existence of all NPOs. Many of the younger generations have grown up with and lived with all manner of virtual things that give them a different perspective on things compared to those who haven't. The world will see greater change as they start creating things in the physical world. If we can stop focusing on just trying to make a profit, you'll see people start to value the excitement and hope that come with the ideas and things we can do and put more emphasis on fulfilling lives, well-being, and sustainability. I hope that NPOs that have advocated for these things will start to have a bigger presence.

Lastly, I'd like to share why I think ChatGPT is particularly viable in a Japanese world. Let's compare the way houses are designed in the West and Japan. The West likes to separate outside from inside, but in Japan, inside and outside are not really defined if you look at Japanese verandas and dirt floors, and there is a way to seamlessly have both the inside and outside in the same space. It can be a space that embraces change and the ambiguity of the boundary between inside and outside, just like ChatGPT enables others to learn about things beyond the solutions they look for. These things that OUT-OF-THE-BOX SEARCH can show you might include NPOs you never knew about. Japanese people would be better at accepting things on a spiritual level that would be hard to get on a physical one, and NPOs should take this as an opportunity to meet new supporters.

From what I've seen from Lions Good News 2023 and its OUT-OF-THE-BOX SEARCH, the power of ChatGPT will enable people to explore things they've neither seen nor spoken of and obtain creative power beyond their imagination. I believe many would agree with me that this website redefines what discovery means.

Executive Director and Managing Editor, Forbes JAPAN Web Editorial Team

Yuka Tanimoto

After working as a finance and economics anchor for Bloomberg TV, etc., she obtained an MBA in the United States. She then became a presenter for Nikkei CNBC, and the company's first female commentator. She has interviewed over 3000 people, including Mr. Audrey Tan, Taiwan's Minister of Digital Affairs, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. She's been in this position since January 1 2022. She is a corporate director and a jury member of the Government Innovation Awards. She is also a researcher and lecturer at the Research Institute for 21st Century Social Design, Rikkyo University Graduate School.

People like Cannes Lions’ creators and we editors always think about the “other side of the coin” when trying to communicate something to someone else. Even if a story or common sense suggests that A equals B, we ask ourselves, “Why can’t A also equal C?” For example, if the premise is that “diamonds are beautiful,” we might ponder, “Couldn’t there also be perceptions that diamonds are not beautiful?” (The film Blood Diamond may come to mind). Similarly, in response to the premise that the earth is important, we can challenge ourselves to think about how an alien might perceive our planet (If you explore great works of science fiction, you can find plenty of insights along this line).

This mode of thinking is commonly called “contrarian.” According to Peter Thiel, a world-renowned contrarian investor, it means bringing the “hidden truth” into the light of day. In the realms of investment and entrepreneurship, finding hidden truth B while everyone else is fixated on A can be a catalyst for driving something from “zero to one.” In terms of people’s perception, it can be a conclusive message that causes a major paradigm shift at the cultural level. Thus, the potential destructive power of the “other side of the coin” is tremendous, and if such thinking is applied incorrectly, it can quickly lead to “conspiracy theories.”

The more than 100 non-profits that have engaged with LIONS GOOD NEWS 2023 are directly confronting truths being overlooked by society and bringing attention to them. However, many of these organizations are dealing with the problem of “being unable to reach their target audience with their intended message, which hinders their ability to attract new supporters.” If that is the case, the question then becomes how we, the recipients of this truth, can free ourselves from accepted practices and biases and take a step toward exploring the “other side of the coin.” This site, which is based on the concept of “New Meetings” transpiring from such exploration, implements searches for the “other side of the coin” using ChatGPT, conversational AI developed by OpenAi.

This AI algorithm, called a Large Language Model (LLM), incorporates vast amounts of text data. It takes the most recent sequence of words and then predicts and adds the most appropriate next word. Although its performance is currently astonishing, some point out that it references a collection of data created by humans and that its answers do not go beyond that data. In other words, it only provides answers of intermediate value that are mediocre and not creative. However, is that really the case? (What do the contrarians think!)

The number of parameters used to train GPT-4, one of the most recent LLMs, has reached 100 trillion. And the recent rise of generative AI makes us feel that the realization of all-purpose artificial intelligence and even singularity, which was previously expected to arrive in 2045, may be brought forward. However, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, has recently stated that “the days of using these giant models are coming to an end.” Although details remain unclear, “learning reinforced through human feedback” is being cited as one possibility for further improving AI quality following this current era of quantity-based training.

If that is the case, it seems we could potentially discover the true path for AI development going forward by deliberately presenting the “other side of the coin” to AI and then having each of us give feedback on the “contrarian aspects.” This may seem like a grandiose claim. However, the potential implied by searching for the “other side of the coin” as implemented in LIONS GOOD NEWS 2023 is precisely what the campaign aims to convey through Cannes Lions and its award-winning works—important values for human society moving forward. In other words, I believe it presents the most radical way to embrace diversity and pluralism on a global scale.

WIRED is currently focusing on the concept of “plurality.” Society’s operating system is about to undergo a major change from singularity, in which the evolution of AI converges exponentially in one direction, to plurality, where multiple things are viewed from multiple perspectives, and pluralism is installed as a social system (remember Web 3.0, everyone?). As if in anticipation of this, the seven keywords listed in LIONS GOOD NEWS 2023 are all accelerating the adoption of “plurality,” not “singularity.” These keywords allow everyone to express their unadulterated selves (Honesty), point out hidden truths (Truth), uncover memories and history (Remembrance), be respectful and sincere in interactions with others (Esteem), ponder new and contrary ways of thinking (Artifice), appreciate the power of imaginations as a source of value (Imagination), and enjoy the unexpected (Unexpected Meeting). These words summarize how to deliver information and create encounters in light of present-day communication challenges. Furthermore, they can also serve as valuable pointers on how to communicate with not only humans but also with increasingly intelligent AI in order to create new outputs. Consequently, a society that is equally inclusive of humans, AI, all living creatures, and the earth itself, is indeed representative of plurality.

Head of Editorial Content, WIRED Japan

Michiaki Matsushima

Moonshot Ambassador for the Cabinet Office of Japan. Before assuming his current position in 2018, he was the Editor-in-Chief of NHK Publishing's arts and sciences books. Exhibition director of 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT's exhibition “2121 Futures In-Sight”. He is the translator of “Novasen” (James Lovelock). He was born in Tokyo and currently lives in Kamakura.

A large-scale survey was conducted to assess the landscape of contemporary communication.

The central question posed is, “How can we create opportunities for new meetings?”

LIONS GOOD NEWS 2024 is designed as a hub to enable these fresh meetings.