• Women in Packaging keynote speaker Nikki Moeschinger, MD of BrandOpus and panellist Liza Vernalls, director of Packaging, Campbell Arnott's.
    Women in Packaging keynote speaker Nikki Moeschinger, MD of BrandOpus and panellist Liza Vernalls, director of Packaging, Campbell Arnott's.

Creativity, collaboration and a rapidly changing workplace were some of the key points addressed by BrandOpus Australia managing director Nikki Moeschinger, the keynote speaker at the 2019 Women in Packaging Breakfast Forum, presented by PKN Packaging News and Food & Drink Business.

Speaking to more than 100 attendees at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney, Moeschinger led her presentation by pointing to  the need for creativity in today’s fast-paced and instantaneous workplace culture, asking what can be done to develop the workplaces of tomorrow.

“New entrants to today’s job market have grown up in an environment where the speed, scope and intensity of reaction – afforded by social media – further discourages risk-taking,” she said.

“Jobs provide us with both material comfort and psychological gratification. We need to work to feel engaged, to contribute.”

“Whatever your definition of creativity may be, if it is what we’re going to need of the workplaces of tomorrow, it is what we need in the workplaces of today.”

Brand Opus Australia managing director and keynote speaker Nikki Moeschinger.
BrandOpus Australia managing director and keynote speaker Nikki Moeschinger.

Moeschinger highlighted that the presence of measurability and big data have impacted on the psyche of an entire generation’s way of working, putting pressure on everyone to make the ‘right decision’ and backing it with data.

“We’re obsessed with big data and we value efficiencies over effectiveness,” she said.

“This has further compounded the loss of our creative skills… we’re becoming smaller, less bold, less childlike in our curiosity, and we’re increasingly hesitant to have a go.”

Further describing creativity as an innate, human skill, Moeschinger said this was slowly lost along the way during school to university and then into the workplace, suggesting logic and rationality become learned, encouraged and practised, subsequently stifling creativity.

“Being rational is the opposite of being imaginative… why are we teaching knowledge when we should be teaching thinking?” she said.

“We need to teach our children to think creatively, to reimagine and to challenge. Only this will help to develop skills they require in the future.”

On the topic of technology replacing humans in the workplace, Moeschinger suggested the 2020s will be a decade of re-employment rather than unemployment, as the shift in the division of labour will potentially net 58 million new job problems, according to The World Economic Forum 2018 Future of Jobs Report.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), in particular, was put under the microscope, as the audience watched a luxury car advertisement based on a script created by AI, in a test to see how creative the technology can be.

Moeschinger was critical of the ad, saying that even though AI was only used for a small part of the process – script writing – it was, “the most awkward part; the storyline doesn’t quite make sense.”

“Its learning is programmed and although the results might be interesting, machines do not have what humans have – imagination and creativity – but what machines are very good at, is processing and analysing tremendous amounts of data in incredibly short amounts of time.”

Moeschinger suggests it is the partnership between humans and AI that will create a force greater than each on their own, where, “collaborative intelligence amplifies human performance.”

The 2019 Women in Packaging Breakfast Forum is an event presented by PKN Packaging News and Food & Drink Business, in partnership with the AIP during the Australian Institute of Packaging’s National Technical Forum.

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