Some would say it’s the creative director. Others might argue the mantle belongs to the lead strategist. A few might even proffer we should give the label to the head of business development. No doubt those are all incredibly valuable roles, making the work, shaping the idea, attracting new clients.
I’m going out on a limb and suggesting we consider anointing a different role as the most important job in advertising. My nominee? The creative technologist.
A creative technologist can teach people about digital tools and platforms and how to create with them. Good ones can inspire writers, designers and even creative directors with possibilities they may never have imagined. A few of the best might even be able to transform a company, affecting the work, the teams, and the processes necessary to keep up with all the change and the opportunities that technology constantly presents.
According to Scott Prindle of CP&B, considered among the best, here are the eight key contributions a creative technologist makes.
- write code and make functional software
- lead strategic thinking for utilities and platforms
- bring new technology into the creative process
- manage complexity and change
- build prototypes
- enable an agile workflow
- manage relationships with client IT
- spark experimentation
Go back a few years and few, if any, traditional advertising agencies would have this role front and center. But with the continued convergence of story telling, technology, APIs and new mobile platforms it’s now essential. In fact this month the 4A’s conducts a full day conference on the role and how to incorporate it. Some of the top creative technologists will be there, including Scott Prindle and Andy Hood. If you can’t make it, here’s a cheaper, less time consuming introduction to the role.