Time travel from tech to creative

May 13, 2023

Closing in on 40, leaving behind a successful a 18-year career in building products and technology, where I managed businesses worth millions, an engineer by thought and practice; well I have no business doing what I do today! Or do I?When I first ventured into the agency world, I thought, “How hard can this be? It’s advertising after all.” Well, I was wrong! Soon enough, I realized that I was venturing far beyond the boundaries of a front-page newspaper ad or a 30-second radio spot or a minute-long TVC. What I was doing was far beyond traditional advertising itself.I’ve seen folks from ad agencies, at least the creative ones, walk into technology parks with a “Where the hell am I? Get me out of here!” look on their faces. At the same time, I’ve heard my colleagues talk about the cacophony, the madness, and the lack of a conducive working environment after visiting an ad agency. I was trying to bring these worlds together. I was trying to find a third door which opened into a place where creativity and technology lived happily ever after.The thought was great. The market needed someone with the right balance between creativity and technology. But I wasn’t the first guy to try and solve this. It’s not that I had no predecessors. It’s just that I had no truly successful ones, from an Indian context. And now, it’s been three years spent creating such an agency with true creative technologists.Take a truly right-brained person and a really left-brained one and leave them in a room to solve a problem. You bet you are going to have a lot of fun watching them. After all, it will be a clash of two mindsets. And I notice that this is the greatest challenge – trying to truly blend two mindsets, behaviours, prejudices, conditioning of mind, assumptions, understanding, and more importantly two belief systems.This is no easy task. Try changing your own mindset about something you have stood by forever and you will realize how hard it can be. At some point, you’re bound to get stuck. And this is what happens every day in my company, in every conversation, in every decision, in every hire, in every fire, in every success, in every failure, in every pitch, in every project, in every argument… you get my drift! But, in the end, the magic does happen. But creating this magic consistently is the challenge. What I have observed is:

  • It’s not just about attempting to tell a story about the brand, it’s also about infusing technology to it to create a true connected experience for the consumer
  • Every great idea, if executed well, will have impact. But ask will it solve the brand’s business problem?
  • There is no method to the madness. There is the method and then there is the madness
  • Collaboration is everything. So how do you get a creative guy and a technology guy to speak the same language?
  • Ideas are not always an “apple falling on your head phenomenon”. There is direction and there is motivation. Find the balance!
  • Some things deserve a “big bang” entry. Others need a more “test and refine” approach

We’ve always lived in a world filled with ambiguity, uncertainty, and chaos. And this kind of world makes us explore things that have never been done before. That’s where not just knowing how to dream comes into the picture, but knowing how to control them also becomes a skill. We keep a reality-check and believe that every dream is realized as a journey, not a miracle or an accident.Thus, it all boils down to one simple thought: when someone ponders “What if one big idea could change the world?” we ask, “Then why would you want to do it just once?” That’s what a creative technologist is all about.This post originally appeared in Impact Magazine