How the right mix of creativity and technology can inspire innovation in business

According to studies, creativity enables radical change. As technology remains at the forefront of innovation, the notion of collaboration between creativity and technology as the catalyst for innovation shouldn’t be a hard sell.

To some extent the trend has been adopted in agency and digital environments, in the guise of Product Manager, User Experience Designer, Systems Analyst or Creative Technologist. Describing those working at the crossover between creative and technology, it’s a concept that inspires debate on all sides.

The Creative Technologist

Nope, it’s not an oxymoron. A hybrid function, the Creative Technologist builds a bridge between the creative and technology inclined. Instead of the stereotypical split between left and right brained thinkers, critical thought versus intuition, the Creative Technologist embodies the best of both worlds (or brains), bringing together these complementary skills and thinking frameworks.

Traditionally an agency role, it is one that can add tremendous value in the business environment, specifically in the delivery of digital or technology projects. Similarly to the traditional Business Analyst, they act as a “Translator” to ease communication and relationships between these seemingly at odd business units. However, their impact is much deeper as they play a leading role guiding teams, making recommendations and designing solutions.

Embracing a people-centric view and a toolkit of User Experience methodologies, the Creative Technologist is not your typical BA. They balance design thinking, business and domain knowledge with digital strategy and technical know-how – architecture, code, legacy and new trends in technology – to design practical and relevant interactive digital experiences.

We need to do more to champion this mindset in the business world, to view creativity and technology not as opposing forces but as one dynamic duet. At Creatively, our approach marries business and customer needs as we design inventive digital solutions that are both strategic and practical. Find out about how we work.

“Success comes from standing out, not fitting in”- Don Draper in Mad Men, Season 2

The trend has proven to be potent, breeding high agile and innovative business teams. Mainstream agencies and corporates reap the benefits, unleashing a new wave of creativity in the competitive spaces of digital, BTL and ATL driven products or services.

Imagine a typical Ad Agency day – brainstorming new ideas for a brand appealing to an already-saturated audience. The brief is to stand out from the clutter and delight customers. Customer insight comes from analytics, engagement opportunities are offered in social and/or media and, on a tight budget, the best bang for your buck is in digital. The Creative Technologist has the ability to harvest insight from data and to practically apply business strategy and guide developers to bring an omni-channel interactive experience to life.

Today’s innovation in business is often grounded in technology. With the global economic situation and saturated markets, it is unsurprising that digital is driving this sustainable competitive advantage. Businesses push to explore new unchartered territories, to produce unique products and experiences, and to boost sales. Brands aspire to deliver a superior customer experience, build loyalty and increase ROI.

In the search for the most innovative and achievable ideas, a creative mindset ensures that organisations are open to fresh perspectives, opportunities, and inventive solutions.

The Creative Technologist mindset

Useful links

Huy Nguyen, OgilvyOne, 2013. How technology talks

Sermad Buni, BBDO, 2013. What is a Creative Technologist?

Rachel Mercer, 2014, VCU Brandcenter Master’s Candidates in Creative

Simon Whatley, Foolproof, 2014. What is a Creative Technologist?

Mark Avnet, 2013. Creative Technology is more than semantics

Igor Clark, Wieden+Kennedy, 2011. Why we are not hiring Creative Technologists

The Curious Technologist, What is a technologist