One of the first sessions at the two-day Kyoorius Melt 2015 event which kicked off on 21 May, saw Alex Jaspers, strategist, Metalworks, Maxus, and Unny Radhakrishnan, head of digital – South Asia, Maxus, discuss the possibilities of communication if the work is led by an approach that combines creativity and technology. The session was titled ‘Creativity + technology: Problem solved’.
Radhakrishnan spoke about creativity in today’s times having evolved beyond art and copy. He said, “We believe everyone is creative. We all agree that our ability to come up with ideas is what primarily defines a creative person. If you ask people how they came up with an idea, more often than not, they say that they put two pieces of information together. One could be insight and the other could be a problem statement; or one could be a known fact and the other could be a possibility.”
He added, “Most of the time, 75 per cent of an idea is already in our heads. It is the missing piece that gives us sleepless nights. With the advent of technology, which is both hardware and software, suddenly the possibilities have become endless of connecting things, putting two and two together and coming up with new solutions. With the advent of internet and open source, everybody can be a technologist. There is a far greater access to knowledge, again, because of internet and online courses. Creative is not only about art and copy now. Creative is about art, copy, and code and data.”
Jaspers presented a case which involved solutions invited from advertising agencies, for the problem of how to get a person (say, potential consumer) from point A to point B (say, a mall or a brand outlet). He informed that almost every agency said that the only way to accomplish this was through advertising – with billboards everywhere.
He contested, “At Maxus, we believe that advertising isn’t the solution to everything. Nowadays, as was earlier mentioned, it really is about art, copy, and code and data. Technology has changed the way we communicate and interact. It also means that the way we communicate has to change in advertising. We can’t just put billboards in front of people. What we need to do is create experiences; experiences with technology.”
He cited research which states that on average a consumer is exposed to about 5,000 ads on a daily basis. He said, “We really need to cut through that. Sometimes we need to zoom out and see what the other possibilities are.”
“Sometimes the solution might just not be advertising. It might be electronics, architecture, prototyping or even biotech.”
As an example of the solution being more than just advertising, he cited the recent Hong Kong 'Face of Litter' campaign. “It is not about technology. It is about bringing an idea to life”, he noted.
He was quick to clarify that this does not mean one should do away with creativity and overrun that with technology. Jaspers said, “When we are talking about creativity and technology, we have to keep one thing in mind – one can’t go without the other. We need the creative side to create human experiences and technology is only as good as the human experiences it creates. Technology can only help us to create and support these experiences.”
He cited another example on creating experiences using technology, this time of Gameday, a mobile web application with social features that can be used as a second screen during live matches. This was rolled out in Malaysia.
Jaspers spoke about what this means for the process of arriving at an idea. “We say we need to think outside the box. That really means unconventional thinking. The solution to this is to think like a child.”
Another example of delivering using both creativity and technology presented was that of Berocca Boostbot. “This is something we did in Singapore with the input being a selfie and the output being a Berocca drink. If you want to make a vending machine like this happen, you need people who can actually help you build it. We don’t want people who know every language. We want people who know everything about one thing very well. What we need are open source skills.”
He added, “What we need to realise is that the best people do not work for you. The best people are not the people who know most about their subject. The best people actually are the ones who solve the problem that you are facing. We need to look outside the boundaries of our agency. We are moving more and more towards the space of open innovation.”