Bridging the Virtual World: Michael Stone, DEFINITION6

by India Fizer , AdForum

Atlanta, United States
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Michael Stone
Creative Director DEFINITION 6

In the latest in our series of interviews that explores the role of the Creative Techonologist, we spoke with Michael Stone, Creative Director at customer experience agency DEFINITION 6, where he specializes in the direction of interactive experiences, user engagement and retention, storytelling, and driving revenue growth for brands. 

What does the role of a creative technologist entail?

A creative technologist, simply put, is a technology-focused creative who develops solutions in digital environments. This individual will work across the entire digital vertical. He or she will influence marketing strategy, design prototypes, work on information architecture, facilitate prototype testing, perform data analysis, weigh in on the creative process, collaborate on UX design, and most importantly, perhaps, project manage. As technology continues to be woven into our daily lives, these lines will become blurred more and more. Having this type of experience will make someone extremely valuable to any organization.

What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?

Communication and time-management are pivotal skills for anyone who wants to be a creative technologist. Communication really is the building block of being successful — not just as a creative technologist, but also in your career. The ability to communicate simple or complex ideas and their solutions effectively provides projects with clear goals and direction. Time-management is secondary, yet a vital skill to communication. In large part, a creative technologist will work exclusively with project management and development teams to identify level of effort (LOE) for completion, and how tasks are delegated to the right team member.


Where do creative solutions intersect with functional design?

Functional design is the act of breaking down complex systems, whether that’s hardware or software, into simpler and more digestible parts. Every piece must function and play their specific role in the process, and the more efficient and effective that is, the better the result. Where this intersects with the creative is designing those smaller pieces to tell the larger story in the end.


What’s the most challenging aspect of the creative technologist role? 

Ambiguity. A creative technologist will spend most of their time solving problems to achieve goals with no solution roadmap for how to reach them. 

As you start to peel back the layers of those problems – and how they will affect the outcomes of the goals – you find that each layer and solution to the problem is unique, and most of the time, they must be solved independently of the next. This means you have to pivot at a moment's notice and, ultimately, understand what the ripple effect to the project will be.


How do you see the role expanding with the introduction of the metaverse?

Some of this is still unknown. The Metaverse isn’t a new concept and has been tried before. However, as the Metaverse conversation becomes louder, a creative technologist could become the rock stars in this arena. These individuals are strong collaborators between creative, strategy, and technology. These skill sets are critical in bridging the virtual world into our physical one. Creative technologists will start to focus and influence more on creative experience rather than digital output. Technology enables the design, and the design establishes the experience.