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According to futurist and innovation strategist Anders Sorman-Nilsson, we are in a second renaissance of human creativity and innovation, with sustainability at its core. 


In this presentation at RESET, titled How AI, Human Creativity and Digital Nutrition Win the Digital Minds and Analogue Hearts of Tomorrow’s Conscious Consumers, Sorman-Nilsson said the rise of the conscious consumer is putting the spotlight on sustainability and accountability. 


“Brand accountability will be as important to your sales as marketing is today,” he told the audience of CMOs. “Which means we have to make sure our ecosystem of impact, also known as supply chains, are squeaky clean.”


Marketers will also have to really work with sales and product innovators “to connect with the conscious consumers of tomorrow,” Sorman-Nilsson added. 


Focus on the human

In this new world of conscious consumers and the rising importance of human connection, brands have to use technology in a way that brings humanity to the fore, Sorman-Nilsson said.


“To be better, we have to make sure we take the robot out of the human through smart use of technology, so we can do less of the menial and the mundane and the vanity metrics and the Excel spreadsheet counting, and providing all this data all of the time, to actually liberate us – through the use of smart technologies, artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, for example – to actually free us up to do more creative, more humanist work. 


“Less of the menial and the mundane, more of the meaningful and the humane, so we can actually build a more sustainable planet through our products and services.”


Learn to hold two opposing ideas at the same time

An important skill needed today, according to Sorman-Nillson, is the ability to hold two seemingly opposing ideas in mind at the same time – “and still retain the ability to function and innovate”. 


As an example, he proffered Norway, which generates 97% of its energy from renewable sources – but has achieved that by reinvesting revenue from the country’s oil resources into hydropower, wind and solar projects.


“Norway is using old-school oil revenues and reinvesting those resources into a green future,” Sorman-Nillson said. “Even if you have old-school revenues, make sure you start divesting from them, but also you start reinvesting the tail-end of them into a renewable future.”


Harness the combined power of digital and analogue

Winning the hearts and minds of conscious consumers will take a combination of new and old, Sorman-Nillson went on to say. 


“We will have to go ‘digilogue’ to win the digital minds and the enduringly analogue emotional heart of our conscious consumer,” he said. 


“The conscious consumer will punish you, the talent of tomorrow will punish you, stakeholders and shareholders will punish brands that don’t live up to our sustainability expectations, but also of the customer journey expectations that we have of really successful brands.”


After ecommerce boomed during the pandemic, consumers expect a lot more from brands online, Sorman-Nillson added.


“We’ve been spoiled through the pandemic with great digital customer journeys so now the game is really on to tell better human stories, to connect with hearts and minds,” he said.   

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