Career Boosters: What is a creative technologist?

December 09, 2013  |  Comments

Career Boosters is a monthly e-panel discussion that scouts out leaders in the marketing, digital, communications and advertising space to provide their perspectives on industry topics related to career development, talent acquisition and hiring practices.

Today’s panel: Jeff Vermeersch, creative technology director at Zulu Alpha Kilo and Dondy Razon, creative technology director at WAX Partnership Inc.

Briefly sum up the role of a creative technologist.

Jeff Vermeersch: The role of a creative technologist involves marrying the worlds of creative and technology by continuously adapting to technological and cultural change.

Dondy Razon: A creative technologist’s role is a hybrid of a strategic and conceptually minded creative mixed with a forward thinker that lives and breathes new technology. Creative technologists’ come in different variations and from different backgrounds, however they all share a passion for creating something innovative.

How will this role evolve over the next year?

Jeff: The role itself won’t change at all in the next year but the world around me will. Change is constant.

Dondy: I hope that it will evolve from the hip and cool thing to have on your agency roster to companies seeing the real value of having someone with that skill set to facilitate better collaboration between creative, client service and technical people. I think this role is the key to creating better future friendly products.

Jeff Vermeersch

Should a creative technologist sit in a creative or technical department, and why?

Jeff: A creative technologist should sit wherever they are most valuable to the agency at which they work. At Zulu, I work with the creatives to build technology solutions into creative ideas.

Dondy: “Neither! A creative technologist should be with the strategy department because they can’t be an effective conduit if they live in either department. This role is very strategic in its nature. Stopping fires before they start or helping build a good foundation before laying the first brick are key aspects of the creative technologist role.

Some of your favourite creative technologist are….

Jeff: By far my favourite creative technologist is Darrin Patey. He’s got digital pizzazz.

Dondy: It may not be in their title but these guys are good examples: Joshua Davis, Dre Labre, Dave Chant, Grant Skinner, Derik Vaz, and David Bastedo.

Some of your favourite screening questions when identifying creative technologists are….

Jeff: What’s your favourite movie? What’s your favourite Legend of Zelda game? What did you used to do?

Dondy: What new technology are you excited about and why? What role does technology play in your everyday life? What makes a good design? What do you like do with data? When was the last time you did something you didn’t know how to do and what was it? What industry defaults should be discarded and what should we do instead?

Dondy Razon

Any tips for individuals looking to become a creative technologist?

Jeff:  Start working with as many other people who do different roles in your agency. To succeed as a creative technologist you need to understand how to help others understand what you do. The best way to do that is understand what they do.

Dondy: Find a place that can take advantage of all your skills and where you can learn something new. Work on your own ideas and bring them into fruition. Know and do your shit better than everyone else. Contribute to the community in anyway you can to get your name out there. Don’t think of moving into this role because you’re not good enough to be in either the creative or technical department. You have to be equally great at both.

Rachel Scott is the marketing and communications coordinator and Trina Boos is president of Boost Agents, a specialist recruitment provider to the marketing, advertising, design and communications industry.

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