The Creativity Panel: The Design Mandate

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On Thursday, Creativity brought together four product design leaders from the world's biggest companies for Cannes' first exploration of the key role of design in the brand experience. Gert Hildebrand, head of design for Mini; Ignacio Germade, head of design for Motorola Europe; Seth Banks, head of design for GE Global Healthcare; and Bryan Nesbitt, head of design, GM Europe, joined Creativity editor Teressa Iezzi onstage to talk about the role of design in moving a brand forward and the inside story on some of the biggest design stories of the past few years.

Nesbitt talked about the changes at GM that put emphasis on design and creativity, as well as discussing Cadillac as a case study of the revival of a classic brand in the U.S. and the launch of a new Cadillac tailored to the Euro market.

Banks spoke of the design implications of GE's plans for the future of personalized health care-where GE's diagnostic tech combines with genome mapping and pharma toward a system that will eventually be able to predict health issues before they arise.

Hildebrand offered insight on the reinvention of the Mini, joking that he was one of the laziest designers in the world, given that the original Mini was produced for 40 years, and that now, "with the new one, I have nothing to do for another 40 years." Hildebrand called the Mini a "classless car. It was built on the idea that form follows function. Pure function will always be beautiful."

Hildebrand also had the last word on the subject of the power of design, in a discussion of design trends and the length of time between idea and execution in design. "We don't know the trends of the future. We create the trends. There are no trendsetters, all this is bullshit, because we create it. No other profession creates the future."

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