A talk from Scott Bedbury at PSFK 2017 stresses the importance of transparency in a country that has fallen prey to “alternative facts”

Scott Bedbury, CEO of Brandstream, made his mark at Nike (overseeing the launch of the “Just Do It” campaign) and Starbucks before starting his own firm and developing brand strategy for groups as disparate as Airbnb and NASA. Now, as an advocate for transparency in all walks of life, government and business, he’s working on a book that posits the war on truth and trust, in today’s political discourse, as “a war against humanity.” You could say his latest project, Upstream Research, is a sort of proof of concept for his ideals, collecting and displaying data on environmental health risks in a UX-friendly format for consumers—not insurance companies, corporations or government officials.

Bedbury delivered a PSFK 2017 update deeply rooted in our present moment that encouraged audience members to be wary and to use their talents to make a positive impact. As people with sinister agendas aim to call the most evident facts and science into question, Bedbury says, “We have never needed creative storytellers and designers more than we do now.”

Here are some key takeaways:

We need to embrace total transparency

Bedbury calls out the three things he believes can “save the Republic:” truth, transparency and trust. “I call these the world’s most rare elements—alchemy at its best.” Bedbury asks us to imagine a world with no (or at least fewer) secrets, in which you would know exactly who funded a political candidate and the full environmental impact of the products we consume.

Beware the meeting point of AI and EI (evil intent)

While data and artificial intelligence are making valuable information more accessible, Bedbury warns against tech combined with bad intentions, such as AI-fueled propaganda on social media: “It’s slightly terrifying to me, because I don’t think any of us know where that’s going.”

Scott Bedbury, CEO of Brandstream, made his mark at Nike (overseeing the launch of the “Just Do It” campaign) and Starbucks before starting his own firm and developing brand strategy for groups as disparate as Airbnb and NASA. Now, as an advocate for transparency in all walks of life, government and business, he’s working on a book that posits the war on truth and trust, in today’s political discourse, as “a war against humanity.” You could say his latest project, Upstream Research, is a sort of proof of concept for his ideals, collecting and displaying data on environmental health risks in a UX-friendly format for consumers—not insurance companies, corporations or government officials.