People who say “yes” to everything are often frowned upon. Yet, the same applies to constant “nay” sayers. However, “no” has potential to spark creativity and innovation, according to Dörte Spengler-Ahrens, Vice President of the Art Directors Club for Germany and curator of this year’s ADC Festival. The congress will be held under the theme of The Power of No – For a new Diversity of Thinking from May 12-24, 2020 in Hamburg’s Kampnagel. The organisers aim to counter general positivity, which thrives among young people keen to appear cool and hip. “We see ‘no’ as the start of something new. That will be the common thread running through the entire festival.” The congress on May 14-15, the Open Space EXPO the “Forever Digital” (May 14, 2020) stage as well as the “Career Day” (May 15, 2020) are key parts of the festival.
“No” as an inspiration
However, delegates should not expect a congress of “nay” sayers, Spengler-Ahrens assured when unveiling the agenda at the Agentur Mutabor in mid January. She noted: “We have been able to attract personalities who see ‘no’ as a spark of inspiration.” This year’s speakers include Fernando Machado, CCO of Burger King, Oobah Butler, whose “recipe for success is audacity”, Tim Mälzer, chef and entrepreneur, advertising legend Sir John Hegarty (“Do interesting things and interesting things happen to you.”), conductor Kent Nagano and Stefan Sagmeister, whose exhibition Beauty is currently on show at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe.
Changing the school of thought
Professor Michael Braungart, who pioneered the Cradle to Cradle design concept for independent thinking, is among the other speakers. Minimizing the carbon footprint is not the way of thinking in future and Braungart has come out in favour of a rethink – away from efficiency-driven growth towards effective waste ecology. The question is not: “How do I do it right”, but, “What is the right thing to do?”
“Nay sayers” must be open to alternatives
While Spengler-Ahrens opined: “‘No’ is radical. I think that’s good”, Dr. Carsten Brosda, Senator for Culture and Media has come out in favour of disruptive and unifying aspects. His recent book “Zerstörung” (Destruction), analyses the waning popularity of Germany’s mainstream political parties and is sceptical of a radical, uncompromising trend. Brosda will also address the congress and earlier noted: “Even if an idea is good, it’s important to say ‘no’, in the event of an even better idea. Those who say ‘no’ must be open to alternatives.” The focus should be on improvement rather than prevention and can be ecological, economic, social or communicative.
Awards Show – celebrating and networking
The Award Show with the presentation of the ADC Nägel awards on May 15th marks the highlight of the festival. People will have an opportunity to network in a relaxed atmosphere “until the morning hours” at the after show party , the organizers assured.