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The State of Creative Technology - 2018


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We at TBD Labs know two things about Creative Technologists.

1. They have a wealth of ability.
2. This wealth isn't well-understood.

This survey is our own geeky-way of broaching the problem. With over forty Creative Technologists responding, the results add clarity, but, more so, we hope it sparks conversation.

Please let us know what you think. We plan on making the survey an annual occurrence.

Published in: Technology
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The State of Creative Technology - 2018

  1. 1. THE STATE OF CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY _ 2018 _ Presented by TBD Labs
  2. 2. 2018 REFLECTIONS02 Year two of the survey and here we are, lost as ever. I'm being overdramatic, but a year later and most co-workers still don't have a clear understanding of what their Creative Technologist does.  While not everything in this world needs to be understood by all, the lack of clarity may be hurting salaries as there is no direct correlation between experience and pay. It could also be stifling the growth of organizations. CT's mentioned one of the biggest challenges facing their organization is accurately positioning their offerings. How do we solve this? A recurring theme is the desire for CT's to be part of the process early on. This means strategy and concepting, but it also means being part of defining an company's offering.  As always, I hope the survey continues the discussion of what Creative Technology is and what it could be. If you'd like to learn more or help with next year's survey, please reach out.  Thanks! sam
  4. 4. WHAT CT'S ARE SPENDING MORE TIME ON04 0 14 28 42 56 70 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Prediction 2017 Prediction 2018 0 14 28 42 56 70 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Prediction 2017 Prediction 2018 EXPERIENCE DESIGN VIRTUAL REALITY INSTALLATIONS 0 15 30 45 60 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Prediction 2017 Prediction 2018 AUGMENTED REALITY 0 15 30 45 60 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Prediction 2017 Prediction 2018
  5. 5. WHAT CT'S ARE SPENDING LESS TIME ON05 UX DESIGN BACK END DEV FRONT END DEV 0 14 28 42 56 70 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Prediction 2017 Prediction 2018 0 10 20 30 40 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Prediction 2017 Prediction 2018 0 10 20 30 40 50 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Prediction 2017 Prediction 2018 HARDWARE 0 10 20 30 40 50 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Prediction 2017 Prediction 2018
  7. 7. CT'S ARE HAPPILY BECOMING PART OF THE PROCESS EARLY ON07 CLIENT BRIEFINGS /  KICK OFFS 0 20 40 60 80 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Should Be 2017 Should Be 2018 STRATEGY / BRIEF DEVELOPMENT 0 30 60 90 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Should Be 2017 Should Be 2018 "(There's a big opportunity) to be involved as soon as possible in the creative process (by the Creative Director or the business team) to identify opportunities and work alongside traditional creative teams on ideation."
  8. 8. CT'S CONTINUE TO WANT TO OWN THE IDEA FROM CONCEPT TO PRESENTATION 08 CLIENT PRESENTATIONS 0 20 40 60 80 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Should Be 2017 Should Be 2018 0 25 50 75 100 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Should Be 2017 Should Be 2018 CONCEPTING / IDEATING "(There's a big opportunity) to be the person who comes up with creative applications of this technology, and not have to be the most technical person in the room figuring out how to execute the ideas of advertising bozos."
  9. 9. WHILE THE MAKING REMAINS IMPORTANT, IT IS LOSING SOME DESIRABILITY 09 PROTOTYPING 0 25 50 75 100 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Should Be 2017 Should Be 2018 SCOPING / PRODUCTION PROPOSALS 0 14 28 42 56 70 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Should Be 2017 Should Be 2018 DEVELOPING / EXECUTING 0 30 60 90 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Should Be 2017 Should Be 2018
  10. 10. THE JOB
  11. 11. HOW WELL CT'S FEEL THEIR ROLE IS UNDERSTOOD BY THEIR CO- WORKERS MIRRORS 2017'S RESULTS: NOT WELL. NOT WELL.   11 Not At All 5% Mostly Don't 32% Fifty-Fifty 49% Mostly Do 12% Completely 2% Not At All 10% Mostly Don't 37%Fifty-Fifty 41% Mostly Do 7% Completely 5% 2017 2018
  12. 12. NOT ONLY IS THE ROLE MISUNDERSTOOD12 "They think R&D is just throwing money away. The process is slow, I feel pretty much tied up and I cannot express myself, trying a lot of different stuff, especially if I need gear." "The advertising industry doesn't understand the importance of research, rapid prototyping, investing in products that bridge digital and physical - projects seem to be client dictated and bottom line driven." "The notion of digital product is well misunderstood. Especially in France, where "design" means "drawing chairs" and not problem-solving engineering. And the notion of product refers to physical and not digital."  MISUNDERSTOOD PROCESSES  "AI is often seen as a trendy, blurry, magical way to solve any problem."  "The term AI is a 'catch all', when really back end dev can solve a lot of the needs without building out huge ML networks." "AR and VR (are misunderstood) because not many people have experienced it yet" and "because of the word 'reality'."  MISUNDERSTOOD TECHNOLOGY
  13. 13. THE JOB HUNT (OR THE LACK THEREOF)13 HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO TAKE ON FREELANCE WORK? No Chance 15% Not Likely 34% Maybe 22% Likely 15% Extremely Likely 15% +60% FL 26% ~50/50 19% +60% FT 55% WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL RATIO OF FREELANCE TO FULL-TIME WORK?No Chance 12% Not Likely 33% Maybe 21% Likely 10% Extremely Likely 24% HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO SWITCH JOBS THIS YEAR?
  14. 14. $85-95 $95-105 $100-110 $135-145 WHAT CT'S ARE TAKING HOME14 2-5 YEARS 6-10 YEARS 11-15 YEARS 16-20 YEARS NOTES: The salaries are approximate averages and do not account for location or gender. TAKEAWAY: At all levels the salaries varied greatly yet the overall average range (especially between 2 and 15 years) is small: $85-110. A hypothesis is the lack of role definition is leading to a lack of compensation consistency. In other words, CT's have a great opportunity to define what is fair compensation.
  15. 15. THE ISSUES
  16. 16. THE MOST PRESSING ISSUES FACING AGENCIES/COMPANIES16 STAFFING "The need for CTs is growing, but the talent is hard to find." "Making money. Because the most interesting and high paying jobs often are in small product companies that have everything to build." "Situating ourselves within the field. For better or worse, my agency seems to be doing its own thing and is a bit out of the loop that others are in." THE RIGHT NEW BUSINESS "Shifting from the traditional campaign activation to the full product-design field." "Our agency is half tech-savy half traditional so we have a big gap in understanding of the work, the process and our goals as creators." "Takes too long to quote, not getting paid for quotes, and bigger agencies using scheduling, budgeting, planning work that we've done and using it for research purposes." THE MODEL "Social platforms controlling output to small bland videos." "I think with the emerging technologies being developed, finding a practical use case for AR & VR is a challenge. Still a long way to go." CONTROLLING AND DEFINING THE OUTPUTS
  17. 17. "I think gender parity/representation has been a huge problem for my company (as well as every company I've worked for). Obviously this has been a big year for talking about women in tech. But I found it much less comfortable being a woman in advertising. The way the question is phrased makes me want to say more about it - sexual harassment is not how I would describe the issues I have faced as a woman. I haven't been 'HARASSED' - but I have often been the only woman in meetings. I have had men with less technical knowledge than me dismiss my technical recommendations. I have only really had male bosses and mentors in the companies I have worked at. People tend to champion those who remind them of younger versions of themselves. I've felt the lack of this championship acutely. I don't think any HR training presentation has done anything to change address these things." 17 Not At All 16% Mostly No 16% Yes and No 30% Mostly Yes 22% Completely 16% GETTING A POV FROM CT'S ON AN IMPORTANT ISSUE DO YOU FEEL YOUR INDUSTRY IS DOING ENOUGH TO COMBAT SEXUAL HARASSMENT? A FAIR, WELL SAID RESPONSE 
  18. 18. THE FUTURE
  19. 19. "The Creative Technologist position has always been hard to define and will probably remain as that way as the panel of technologies increases as well as the expertise needed to fully understand/master them. Depending on the technical skills, the experience and the preferences of each CT profile, the gap will grow between them, as some will prefer to have a greater/higher vision of (almost) everything (without proficiency) and others that will tend to highly specialize in a field (or 2, or more)." THE FUTURE OF CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY AS A DISCIPLINE/JOB19
  20. 20. GOING DEEPER INTO THE FUTURE OF CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY20 STAY BROAD AND BE EVEN HARDER TO FIND "There will be always a high demand, but companies will struggle to find the right person. And this will also hinder establishment of the discipline properly due to lack of resources."  "I see Creative Technology having a broader representation in industries other than advertising. I think of the job as being about understanding new technologies and coming up with creative things that could be done with them. I think companies that value R&D and have any actual interest in shaping the future will come to value Creative Technology as an important part of their process. And not just as something you add on at the end." STAY BROAD AND BECOME VALUABLE TO ALL INDUSTRIES "I don’t see it much as a title anymore. It’s folded into UX now, as UX designers are expected to be more tech savvy."  BECOME SPECIALIZED  "(We'll be known as) tech-friendly creatives and experience designers. Tech + an additional deliverable like writing, design, IA, etc." BECOME A CREATIVE
  22. 22. Abhishek Singh Andy Maskin Ben Fry Blair Neal Brendan Dawes Bret Victor Buckmister Fuller Casey Reas Cyril Diagne Daito Manabe Dan Shiffman Guillaume Cartigny Heather Dewey-Hagborg John Maeda Jon Andrews Julien Terraz Karolina Sobecka Quayola Ricky Bacon Salvador Dali Werner Heisenberg Yehuda Duenyas Zach Liebermann THE CREATIVE TECHNOLOGISTS WHO ARE ADMIRED22
  23. 23. 14islands Breakfast NY Brooklyn Research Cheval Vert Comuzi Critical Mass Current Studios Dalburg Fjord IDEO Make Me Pulse Monogrid Postlight The Workers Tribal DDB Umbrellium Ars Tehnica Creative Applications Hackaday Makery Prostethic Knowledge PSFK RIJKS Museum THE CT Brief by TBD Labs The KBS List by kskobac Tympanus Codrops Vice Creators THE COMPANIES THAT DESERVE MORE ATTENTION THE WEBSITES AND NEWSLETTERS THAT ARE LOVED 23
  25. 25. Male 74% Female 23% Neither 2% Other 1%  GENDER 25 Ad Agency 41% Consultancy 34% Other 10% Media Agency 8% Tech Vendor 7%  EMPLOYER France 36% USA 33% UK 15% Ireland 3% Spain 3% Netherlands 3% Germany 3% Sweden 3% LOCATION RESPONDENT INFO
  27. 27. ABOUT US There is a lot going on with Creative Technology, and TBD Labs exists to help brands make sense of it. The results are memorable experiences and content for consumers, and for companies, the ability to spark an innovative culture without having to invest huge amounts of time and budget.  Visit us at Email at