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Microsoft Advertising at DMEXCO 2019: Day Two

Microsoft Advertising at DMEXCO

Thousands of marketing and advertising professionals crowded the Koelnmesse Exhibition Centre once again as day two of DMEXCO kicked off in Cologne. From social media campaigns and human bias in ad tech, to the modern workplace and collaboration, the hottest industry topics were covered across a range of panels and speaker sessions throughout the day. On the second day of DMEXCO, three topics dominated the conversations, including artificial intelligence and biased AI, as well as unlocking creativity and the changing dynamic between the traditional roles of employer-employee. Here is our recap of the second day of DMEXCO and the key takeaways we got from the sessions.

AI should amplify human ingenuity to solve bias

Beginning the discussion with Forbes’ recent and controversial ‘Top 100 Innovative Leaders’ list, all panellists agreed that in 2019, a list containing 99 men and one woman was unacceptable. Jocelyn Lee from Heat AI argued that this was a prime example of unconscious bias at work. “The entire list was built on an algorithm created by two male professors, so that what they built spat out 99 men and one woman. This is human bias building and feeding the algorithm that churns out biased information because it is coming from one perspective–the data scientists and engineers. When will we get ethnicity, diversity and diversity in thinking being fed into the AI?” Microsoft Advertising’s Director of Marketing, Sean O’Connor, described the issue as a silos challenge that needs to be discussed. “At Microsoft, we’ve been in AI for over 30 years, we look back at Bill Gates who founded Microsoft Research in 1989 to help us solve these problems. Fairness comes first but I believe there is a technical element involved in solving this, when society and technology work together. That’s the dream of AI. To amplify human ingenuity to solve bias and for AI to be a solution.”

The job of a leader is to unlock creativity 

Expectations from employees have changed with a 2018 LinkedIn survey estimating 71 percent of respondents would take a pay-cut to work for a company that is successful or has similar values to their own. The panellists agreed that the significance of the research was that it changed the dynamic between employees and employers. Geraldine McCarthy (Head of Sales EMEA, Dropbox), stated that collaboration and trust are now more important than ever before and that leaders cannot control their staff anymore–they must learn to trust them to do the work they are hired to do. Microsoft Advertising’s VP of Global Corporates Sales, Lynne Kjolso, agreed with McCarthy’s point, “At Microsoft, we realised that if your job is creative, or in innovation or new technology, telling people what to do and just giving them a playbook doesn’t work anymore. Your job as a leader is to unlock creativity. At Microsoft, we have a growth mindset which means we extend trust in everything we do. On our campus today, nobody has an assigned desk–it’s all open space and collaborative, it's super-flexible and allows people to work where and when they want. It’s a big part of our culture and this topic is something that is close to us–we are living that transformation.”

The future is creative

The Trusted Partnership Interviews also continued on into the second day of DMEXCO, hosted once again by the highly entertaining keynote speaker Jon Burkhart. While trust was still the theme covered during the Q&As with leaders from Verizon Media, Blue Summit Media and EPROFESSIONAL, creativity was also a popular talking point. Speaking to Burkhart about what the employee of the future would look like in 2030, EPROFESSIONAL’s Dave Heuring said, “I would look for a professional basketball player. I would look for someone who is creative because now we are looking more and more at the big picture, the social campaigns and programmatic. You have to know a little bit of everything to be able to connect the dots and build a successful customer journey–not just in search, but also outside of it. If I was hiring in 2030, I would hire a semi-professional sports player because they can get really focused, have a target and they would come in every day and give their everything to the task.”

Watch all the highlights from the second day of DMEXCO in the video below.