Google’s “Creatability,” which is a set of experiments designed to make creative tools accessible for those with disabilities, earned the Design Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
Created out of Google Creative Lab in partnership with creators and supporters of the accessibility community, the platform explores how tools to make art—like drawing and music—can be made more accessible through web and A.I technology. For example, it allows creators who are can’t hear to make music, while those who can’t see will be empowered to draw.
The jury, led by R/GA Global Chief Design Officer Richard Ting, assessed the work on four criteria: the concept needed to be tight, the craft had to be sharp, the work had to have a real impact by affecting communities or changing business, and it had to demonstrate innovation.
“It created a new set of tools we, as creatives aren’t accustomed to right now,” Ting explained of the work. “We come to work and have our laptops, etc. but if you can’t access that, you’re shut out of the world of creativity. If you think about this festival, it’s pretty much celebrating only people with access to these tools. Google is stepping forward in rethinking tools for people shut out of this process.”
Ting explained one main reason the jury chose "Creatability" above other contenders was its scalability and reach. Also significant was that Google created this as an open-source platform. “This is not something that they’re doing behind the scenes in research labs. They want the whole world to participate.”
Accessibility was the theme of the other idea that the jury considered for the Grand Prix, Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller, which makes gaming accessible to those with disabilities.
“This idea brought gaming to a wider audience, which is why we loved it,” explained Casey Sheehan, partner at Work & Co. But Google won out because of its reach. “The thing that pushed Google over the top was that it made any type of creativity accessible to anyone.”
Accessibility was also a big theme among Monday night winners overall. In the Health and Wellness category, Ikea also earned the Grand Prix for “ThisAbles,” a suite of product adaptors that make it easier for those with disabilities to use its furniture and goods.