The Barbarian Group Wins Inaugural Innovation Lions Grand Prix

Three other wild ideas awarded

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CANNES, France—Nine years after winning its first Cannes Lion, a gold for Burger King's "Subservient Chicken," The Barbarian Group has secured an even bigger prize: the Grand Prix in the inaugural Innovation Lions contest for a software-development platform it built for creative coders.

The platform, Cinder, "provides a powerful, intuitive toolbox for programming graphics, audio, video, networking, image processing and computational geometry," says its website.

Andrew Bell, the lead architect for the software, recently told a digital graphics blog: "Cinder began life as the in-house creative coding framework for The Barbarian Group. We originally developed it in conjunction with our Magnetosphere iTunes visualizer, to help us port Robert Hodgin's music visualization experiments out of processing. Soon other Barbarians got involved, which has been one of the huge advantages we've enjoyed—having TBG's awesome development staff hacking on it has really accelerated Cinder's development."

He added: "A beginning C++ programmer knows there are dark corners to avoid, but he's not quite sure what they are. And someone who's written as many C++ bugs as I have knows all about those dark corners, knows his own deep, personal failings as a coder, and wants a library that prevents him from having to ever worry about them again. I'm actually pretty proud of how close we are to that goal with Cinder."

Three other Innovation Lions were handed out tonight. (There are no golds, silvers or bronzes in the category, but simply Lions.)

Product development studio De-De, a spinoff from Droga5, took home one for Thunderclap, its so-called "crowdspeaking" platform that "allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style" in social media.

Yota in Moscow picked up a Lion for its YotaPhone, a smartphone with screens on the front and the back—a high-resolution liquid crystal display on one side and an electronic paper display on the other.

Getin Noble Bank won a Lion for creating a debit card with a mini-keyboard and a display that shows your account balance.

The Innovation Lions, the 10th new category at Cannes added in the past eight years, are designed to reward new technologies and innovations—in the festival's words, things like "innovative platforms, apps, tools, programs, hardware, products and radical software which allow brands and creatives to communicate with their customers in a new way, or which stand alone as significant innovations in their own right."

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.