Code Worldwide

I am a Creative Technologist

14.10.2011
Matt McNeany

Matt McNeany

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

The Creative Technologist Brain[/caption] Just short of 10 years ago, I started a business called Code because I believed that technology would change the way marketing and advertising is done. It did and it has - but not how I thought it would. My starting point was looking at other parts of business - manufacturing, finance, logistics - all of which have been re-shaped and re-worked by technology to the point where they are not recognizable from 30 years ago. But 10 years ago, an advertising agency looked a lot like an advertising agency had done 50 years ago (or if you look at Gilmour's illustration of JWT  - which we can't find anywhere! - it looked like it did in the 1920s).  

'New media' was emerging but it was not yet changing the  business model of advertising - and that change seemed inevitable. Now in mid 2011, advertising agencies still superficially look the same.  They still have account management, creative and production.  Media is still separate. They still earn their fees from implementation which they are poor at, giving away the strategy and creative which is where they create genuine value. But the industry is different.  Technological change created the ability for the audience to stop listening (as much) and start creating and self-organising. Brands no longer needed just to say, but also do - which means engaging with technology.  Innovation within the creative industry came from outside the industry - technology firms (not agencies) created new places and devices where the audience could dwell, or create as they felt like it.

And I was partially right in that agencies and creative businesses have started to change.  They now largely recognise that implementation needs to be fast and efficient.  They are starting to treat digital as a context (like paper) not a medium. They are wrestling with new business models.  They can say that data is inherent to effective creative without smirking. And we have not started yet. Creative Technology is a phrase gaining currency - people try to hire Creative Technologists now, but mainly mean geeks who can draw.  

What it really means is that technology is driving Creativity forward, giving it new contexts and new challenges; exposing feeble creative thoughts as irrelevant whilst elevating great Creativity literally off-the-page and making it universal. It is so enormously exciting and uncomfortable to be a Creative Technologists. There is so much to learn and process and it never stands still long enough to wrap your arms around.  And then, you get to change a client's business and start to change an industry and that is hugely fulfilling.