When Creativity Met Technology
History is full of great partnerships. Bread and butter, Antony and Cleopatra, screenwriters and coffee shops, the list goes on. Alas, never has there been such an auspicious union as the one between technology and creativity. Individually invaluable and collectively insurmountable, at least from a marketer’s perspective, their getting together has long been something to celebrate.
And yet it was not always so. For a long time, technology, much like science, was thought to quell creativity. They were opposite ends of the spectrum, often considered to be mutually exclusive: left brain and right brain. But even Einstein realised that scientific and technical innovation should not only be paired with creativity, but in fact depended upon it.
Many of us have a particular idea about what it is to be creative. Whether from the hand of the writer or the artist, ideas of paint brushes, darkly lit studies and a penchant for introspective musings come to our minds far before the cutting-edge and exciting world of technology. Not that the former isn’t equally cerebrally stimulating – of course it is – but simply that traditionally its belonged to its own nuisance space, cultivating a somewhat antiquated image that is deceiving of its modern day-to-day practice.
The number of Internet users will double from three to six billion over the next 10 years. Increasingly, we live our lives through software. Technology fuels creativity, and vice versa. The former has removed the restrictions to the latter, unveiling new horizons of potential. Artists often talk about inspiration being drawn from new experiences. Through the 21st century, technology has become the new experience, redefining how we live and interact. The Internet is, both virtually and in actuality, a new frontier, filled with boundless potential, promise and possibility. We no longer think of when we can do something, but rather when we’ll achieve it. Naturally, creativity has thrived from technology’s intent and the will to explore what is possible
Amongst the likes of social media, it can be easy to assume some modern day dearth of creative spirit. The proliferation of creative opportunity hasn’t necessarily generated an increase in creatively minded individuals (a look at Twitter will reveal as much). Rather, technology serves as a facilitator for the creative, to expedite the creative process and remove previous obstacles to creation. Again, the relationship is reciprocal: innovation is derived from creativity, and technical innovation has provided an outlet through which new ideas can be exposed (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Kickstarter, etc.)
Modern creativity is just different, driven largely by new media. The most creative things we see day-to-day are well made videos, biblically styled photographs of drunken antics or, every now and then, a great marketing campaign or advertisement. For marketers and their clients, the union is all the more important. If creativity occurs behind closed doors, it makes no impact. Technology has not only extended the outreach of marketers, but has mobilised creativity itself.
Big data, mass information and a world of software systems have provided the necessary resources for marketers to exact creative energies, with innumerable funnels and ways to shape customer interaction and behaviour. And through this, with the added commercial impetus, each piece of marketing art automatically receives a mass audience, the resulting praise or vitriol notwithstanding. It might not all be good creativity, but there are certainly prolific attempts.