Celebrating Visionary Creativity: AKQA and Spotify honour Global Innovators at Future Lions 2024

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Celebrating Visionary Creativity: AKQA and Spotify honour Global Innovators at Future Lions 2024

Future Lions, the annual global competition in partnership with AKQA and the Cannes Lions,  has announced the Grand Prix and winners on the Spotify Beach. This year’s Grand Prix winner is “Break the Sound Barrier.” The winning team will collaborate with Spotify and AKQA to explore ways to bring their idea to life.


Future Lions has become one of the most coveted honours for emerging design, creative, and advertising talent. The year’s competition, now in its 19th year, together with partners Spotify and The Wall Street Journal, encourages young innovators to spread positivity by using technology to bring listeners closer to the creators and communities they love. The awards ceremony occurs during the iconic Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and this year will take place on Spotify Beach’s stage in a session hosted by Gemma Redgrave, Global Marketing Director, AKQA, Tye Comer, Creative Director, Spotify and Chloe Wix, Global Director of Product Marketing, Spotify.

This year, AKQA renamed and redefined our School of the Year award in honour of Tom Bedecarré, AKQA’s Chairman Emeritus. Tom’s four-decade career in the creative industry has profoundly influenced many young lives through his mentorship and vision. His dedication to embracing change and innovation has shaped the next generation of talent. The inaugural Tom Bedecarré School of the Year Award will now recognize institutions pioneering in broadening access and leveraging technology for positive impact. This year’s award goes to OpenLearn Academy, an online education platform that breaks financial barriers and challenges the educational status quo in South Korea to create a thriving environment for graduates. And they plan to open a new series of classes in New York this fall.

Since its inception in 2005, Future Lions has significantly expanded its global reach and influence, achieving record-breaking participation this year. This year’s entries came in from around the world, with the highest submissions coming from the USA, Spain, Argentina, Sweden, the UK, South Korea, Canada, Brazil, Peru, and Germany.

Over 240 schools participated, with entries from Brother Escuela de Creativos, Miami Ad School, Arizona State University, and Berghs School of Communication. 99% of winners have gone on to work for some of the world’s leading advertising and design agencies.

This year’s winners:

Grand Prix: Break the Sound Barrier
Team: Molly Egan and Marlana Bianchi
School: Syracuse University Newhouse, New York
Deaf performances added to the songs using deep fake technology training AI so you can choose from the 300 sign languages in use around the world.

Winner: EarSafe
Team: Ana Gabunia and João Paerreira
School: Miami Ad School, Berlin
Turn Spotify into a free hearing tool using the songs you love then boosts the frequencies you can no longer hear.

Winner: The Good Loop
Team: Loris Ghidini, Giulia Ciappaarella, Enrico Monacelli, Andrea Debernardi and Emma Ceramelli
School: Accademia di Comunicazione, Milan
Create loops from your favourite tracks or sounds to help those with neurodiversity use stimming in a new way.

Winner: Beats in Motion
Team: Tate Lampi and Maia Johnston
School: Leeds Arts University, Leeds UK
A white noise tool to combat motion sickness you can turn on and off, up or down depending on how you feel whilst travelling.

“Wow! When we signed on to sponsor this year’s Future Lions, we had high expectations of the work. TLDR: they totally knocked it out of the park. Every single honoree raised the bar for innovation in our industry and set a new standard for our ability to connect with the world,” said Grace Kao, Global Head of Business Marketing at Spotify. “We are so excited to collaborate with these brilliant minds and our partners at AKQA to explore new ways to use Spotify’s rich platform to inspire impactful creativity and rewrite the playbook together. Congrats to the winners!”

“This year’s honorees exemplified ambitious thinking and impactful creativity, poised to transform how we harness powerful technologies to solve very human problems,” said Phillipa Leighton-Jones, SVP and global head of studio and creative for The Trust at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal. “It has been a delight collaborating with Future Lions on this year’s competition, which has left me excited and inspired by the visionary minds of the next generation.”

We are inspired and invigorated by the limitless creativity of a rising generation,” said Ajaz Ahmed, Founder and CEO of AKQA. “The Future Lions competition honours the pioneers, and elevates their ideas that rethink the potential of technology and design to set the stage for a new wave of innovation.”