What does the role of a creative technologist entail?
Creative technologists fall in a grey area where tech and creativity take shape mostly coming from an experimental process. Although their role description is to resolve and develop information technology solutions for innovative digital projects, they are also encouraged to conceptualize their technical thinking and challenge others to adapt into new ways to apply creativity into technology and vice versa. Their endeavors usually change drastically due to the fact that their primary focus isn’t only to keep up with technology, but to further evolve it. And we are talking from variety endeavors such as immersive UX for AR, VR and MR, 3D print prototyping, robotics and even AI.
Where do creative solutions intersect with functional design?
Sometimes this mostly falls into the “chicken or the egg” paradox, where function, purpose, creativity, and intention needs to intersect holistically, but is not always the case. For example, I have seen code that may give you the ability to have mobile banners that could potentially react with motion sensor technology from your phone, but what would the user really do with that? What problem is it really solving? Sure, it sounds cool but it’s – theoretically – useless. Now from the other end of the spectrum, the industry has challenged us to gamify user experiences for the sake of immersive connectivity, which leads us to think creatively with different dimensions in mind. Usually, these immersive experiences hardly get out from the prototype stage due to the lack of relevance to the user or maybe because they’re simply ahead of time.
What’s the most challenging aspect of the creative technologist role?
As an ECD I can’t really speak for the creative technology community in terms of their day-to-day challenges. Some people may have a characterization of them as being the cool mad scientists trying to re-invent a time machine and struggling to make it happen (which, sometimes, I would like to think it that way). But on a serious note I think one of the biggest challenges that I’ve have heard is that they have a hard time finding a steady place in the industry. Sometimes there are ad agencies that have creative labs or tech creatives, but they don’t know what to do with them. Even some of the most sophisticated digital agencies are stuck working with meaningless CX or CRM projects that aren’t necessarily bad work cases, but are mostly transactional and not creative at all.
Most of the coolest creative tech driven work I’ve seen usually comes from smaller digital production shops that usually get famous with a one-hit-wonder. But I think creative technology should be something that everyone should be part of, and have it as integrated as possible on all the work we do.
How do you see the role expanding with the introduction of the metaverse?
It’s really too early to tell where the so called Metaverse is taking us at this point, because there isn’t really a Metaverse yet. It’s just a hype of concept that Zuckerberg just pitched to the industry. But if this becomes a reality (no pun intended), we can confidently say there will be a more proper place for creative technologists – but most importantly, it will encourage every creative to become technologists as well. We recently at Havas started to have a virtual presence in the Sandbox's version of the Metaverse, and our intention is to use this place for creative experimentation as well as enhancing our connectivity between the Havas network and our partners.
Are there any passion projects you’ve worked on that you’d like to share?
I have not done any passion projects in years, but the last one I’ve done was an interactive experience where we built a virtual wall to prevent Trump from winning the elections in 2016. Obviously, it wasn’t effective but the experience was pretty fun to do.