What is a creative technologist?


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I gave this talk to the agency I work at, as i'm the first 'creative technologist' there.

My thoughts on what my job means, where I think the industry is going and some inspirational stuff in the back end.

These slides are quite old - please see the latest version - http://www.slideshare.net/sermad1/what-is-a-creative-technologist


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  • How being a creative technologist relates to my work.\n
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  • Inspired by films of the 80’s. Wanted to be a hacker after seeing War Games.\n
  • Wanted to make special FX after seeing TRON.\n
  • I wanted to be DARYL - A robot boy who can control computers with his mind - I want this super power.\n
  • I LOVE transformers - I collected every issue and then my mum threw them all away.\n
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  • Whopper Sacrifice came at a time where people were bored of Facebook and collecting ‘friends’. Unfriending people to gain a Whopper tapped into that zeitgeist.\n\nChalkbot was also based on a truth - people were writing on the roads for many years and technology enabled twitter messages to be placed on the road. It was rooted in ‘Livestrong’ as a platform not trainers - hence why it made sense.\n
  • Twelpforce was about letting your employees become brand advocates.\n\neco:Drive was about taking a pre-existing technology already in the cars and wrapping a community on top of it.\n
  • For Hendricks Gin, Bompass & Parr created a ‘cloud’ of gin and a totally new way of experiencing a cocktail.\n\nFor Virgin Media, UVA took the idea of ‘light’ inside optical cables and made these into stunning interactive art.\n
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  • Ask yourself why apple is so great? Is it the advertising? The product? The user experience. Most people would say ‘beautifully designed products’.\n
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  • You need to work around these constraints while coming up with ideas not come up with the idea and then figure it out.\n
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  • This idea of augmented reality without a marker was brought to the creatives and then it was the spark of an idea for Burger King.\n
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  • You can’t concept an idea without an understanding of technology and more than ever media. So understanding the media can give you new directions for creative thinking.\n
  • Balance is key. Keeping the creative team small enough it isn’t bloated but skilled enough to handle the work.\n
  • Maybe it’s about having a core team but pullling in specialists when needed.\n
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  • We need time to play, muck about - get into the sandpit that is technology and see what we can do. Maybe it’ll spark an idea, a conversation that will lead somewhere else.\n
  • I used to love taking things part when I was a kid. I still LOVE doing this. Figuring out how something was made so I can understand it - Never lose this. Everyone should be like this.\n\nGet your fingers burned.\n
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  • Where does borrowing an idea move into theft?\n\nHow can we collaborate with people to take ideas they’ve worked on to our clients?\n\nHow can we protect our own ideas?\n
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  • Taking a lifeless robot and giving it a material - cardboard. How this can create empathy between us and it.\n
  • Open Sourcing things - Giving it away. Let the world work with you on a common goal. The crowd is smarter then the person.\n
  • A great inspirational website - check it every week.\n
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  • X Factor is no one without twitter. BBC have already started doing experiments with aggregating content from social media.\n\nLots of content providers are moving into this space and with the rise of the iPad and Google TV, this should hit the mainstream.\n
  • 3D printing is still incredibly expensive - But some bright person will start to put these machines in photo printing places. You go in, design or choose your object from a template and a little while later you pick it up.\n\nCan objects that have memories associated with them still carry those memories when you copy them. What if you laser scanned your pet and then created a 3D model...\n
  • In high end and bespoke fashion you are already seeing this - The imogen heap dress displayed ‘tweets’ while she was at an awards show.\n\nYou just need the tech to become robust and powered so you can throw it in a washing machine and not care about it.\n\nWhat if your phone was connected to the clothes you wear. When you are running it changes the colour of your jacket according to how fast you run. Or when a call comes in, your clothes change colour depending on the person. \n
  • Everyone talks about ‘gamification’ but what about taking real world experiences and putting this back into a game.\n\nThe Mirrors Edge game is all about free running - what if your character ran faster or jumped further because you had completed a 5k run in a great time that week.\n
  • The Killzone game is all about accurate shooting - what if your player had better aim because you had a slow heartbeat.\n\nIt just needs games designers to start playing with all these sensors.\n
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  • What is a creative technologist?

    1. 1. What is aCreative Technologist?V1.0
    2. 2. Hello. I’m Sermad.A little bit about me.
    3. 3. Kerb | Holler | Glue London | Wieden + Kennedy | TBWA11 Years experience in ‘digital’. Boom + Bust.Worked across lots of stuff - games, web builds, mobileapplications, interactive installations...
    4. 4. So again, what is aCreative Technologist?
    5. 5. But before we try andanswer that question.
    6. 6. What is advertisingthese days?
    7. 7. Whopper Sacrifice Chalkbot
    8. 8. Technology not fortechnologies’ sake.Technology was an enabler tothese brand truths.
    9. 9. TwelpForce eco:Drive
    10. 10. Alcoholic Architecture Speed Of Light
    11. 11. Advertising can be ‘big’ telly.Advertising can be a utility.Advertising can be advertising the advertising.Advertising can be a game.Advertising can be an experience.Advertising can be a community.Advertising can be so many things that the rule bookhas gone out of the window.
    12. 12. To do all this amazing new stuffwe have to change the way wework and think.
    13. 13. Welcome to the‘Age of Execution’.
    14. 14. Telly and print can be faked.Things you use can’t.
    15. 15. The advertising is now theuser experience.
    16. 16. Welcome to the‘Age of Constraints’.
    17. 17. A lot of interactive ideas arejust not possible - not in thenot enough time / money way.But just not possible.
    18. 18. Welcome to the‘Age of Collaboration’.
    19. 19. To even think creatively inthese new interactive spacestakes a lot of different skillsfrom outside of this agency.
    20. 20. So seriously, what is aCreative Technologist?
    21. 21. THINK CTMAKE BX
    22. 22. Think• Be briefed to originate ideas to solve communication problems for our clients.• Work with a creative platform - ‘the big thought’ and take it into different space.• Work with creative teams to make their ideas better.• See interesting bits of technology and translate it into new ideas.• Be a filter on new trends in technology, share it to right people to inspire and innovate.
    23. 23. Make• Create tests and prototypes that demonstrate creative ideas.• Play with technology to gain a deeper understanding.
    24. 24. Prototypinghttp://vimeo.com/16985224
    25. 25. Prototyping• When you make a prototype as part of the creative process, it unlocks a deeper understanding of the problems.• When you give a client a built prototype, it gives them enough of an impression of the type of experience they are buying into.• Prototyping can be coded, a filmed storyboard or simply scamps loaded onto a phone.
    26. 26. BX (Brand Experience)• Step back from the idea and ask common sense user experience questions.• What types of technology does the audience use?• How does the user find this idea, participate and share?• What are the barriers? context? time? place?• Are we asking too much?• Does this idea affect other parts of the brand?• How do all the touchpoints interplay?• Not about deep IA and UX.
    27. 27. A Creative Technologistis a lot of types of jobsrolled into one.
    28. 28. T Shaped ModelTech Director Producer Planner BX IA IxD Innovation Director ‘Creative / Developer
    29. 29. Art Director Copywriter Creative Tech = = = Pictures Words Code Via @prindlescott
    30. 30. I use code to helpexpress my creativeideas.
    31. 31. Making not talking.
    32. 32. So that means anydeveloper can be acreative technologist?
    33. 33. Well yes...But can they think up ideasthat solve communicationproblems?
    34. 34. Maybe not.
    35. 35. Creative Technologist isalso a bit of a rubbishjob title.
    36. 36. It implies that nottechnologists are notcreative.
    37. 37. You don’t have the title‘creative art directors’...
    38. 38. The problem is that thedefinition of creativityis flawed.
    39. 39. Little ideas can lead tobig things.
    40. 40. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LNgXxxCdus&feature=related
    41. 41. The concept of the‘creative team’ reallyhas to change to copewith making this newstuff.
    42. 42. Art Director Copywriter
    43. 43. Better team? CT Art Director Copywriter Comms Planner
    44. 44. Better team?? CT Art Director Copywriter Comms Planner Producer Client
    45. 45. Core Team Specialist CT Art Director Copywriter Comms Planner Specialist
    46. 46. So I hope I haven’tconfused you all.
    47. 47. In summary.
    48. 48. Creative Technologists willmake your awesome stuffawesomer.
    49. 49. Creative Technologists enableways to say ‘yes’. Via @prindlescott
    50. 50. Creative Technology is thisyears Social Media Guru.P.S. Next year it will be ‘UserExperience Professional’.
    51. 51. How to spot a good CT• Can they make stuff with code.• Can they originate and present their own ideas.• Can they inspire.• Can they collaborate.• Can they spot brand truths where technology can be applied.• Can they keep the ‘person’ at the heart of any solutions.
    52. 52. Play Time
    53. 53. Permanently curious
    54. 54. Here are some examples ofbrilliant creative technology.
    55. 55. Chris OShea - Hand From Above http://vimeo.com/7042266
    56. 56. Inspired by Hand From Above?http://vimeo.com/12855619
    57. 57. Inspired by Hand From Above?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZG248mXkDk
    58. 58. Tweenbotshttp://www.tweenbots.com/
    59. 59. EyeWriterhttp://www.eyewriter.org/
    60. 60. http://www.creativeapplications.net/
    61. 61. Trends 2011
    62. 62. Rise Of The BackchannelPhoto by Dan Taylor
    63. 63. High Street 3D Printing
    64. 64. Wearable Computing
    65. 65. Real World To GamingExperiencesThe more you run in real life,the faster your game character.
    66. 66. Real World To GamingExperiencesThe slower your heartbeat in real life,the better aim for your game character.
    67. 67. Thank you.@sermad