What I’m looking for in a creative technologist

Recently I’ve been getting introduced to people who want to work as a creative technologist who don’t quite fit the mould. Rather than try and counter erroneous articles or set off on a rant about the vastly different experiences of what makes a creative technologist, I thought it best to put down my opinion in the hope I might attract the right folks.

As it is also coming up to end of year for many students, a little guidance might help out.


What I’m looking for in a creative technologist (at an ad agency)

Let’s start by defining the part in parenthesis – the integrated advertising agency – BBDO NYC

BBDO NYC is an advertising agency that provides solutions to client problems that are generally creative expressions of an idea – TV, Print, Radio, Websites, Banners, Social Media things, Content things, Apps, Interactive installations, Shelf wobblers (maybe I’m making that up) etc etc .

Those things can work across all manner of spaces and places. We collaborate with our partners to produce those solutions. We don’t generally do in house production. This is an important distinction. A creative technologist for a company that does all their own internal production might be different to what I’m looking for.

  • Evidence of creative thinking AKA ideas

This sounds so incredibly obvious but it is amazing how many people fall at this hurdle. We are in the business of ideas. From big to little, slow to fast, expensive to cheap etc etc. We want ideas. You must be able to show that you able to come up with some sort of idea that is more than a utility.

But how do you show this? Good question. Let’s change the question.

  • Evidence of creative thinking + an ability to make them

Most advertising creatives have a ‘book’. Their portfolio in other words. Some of it is work they’ve managed to get made coupled with with amazing yet technically impossible ideas. This is what I don’t really want to see unless it is wrapped in some sort of understanding that you know it is impossible or you tried and failed. I love seeing evidence of ‘failure’ but I always like to reframe failure as not quite succeeding. Feels a bit more positive.

A real portfolio is so easy to make by hand (a list of links) or use one of the many free portfolio solutions that I would expect to see some sort of collection of work and an explanation of how you were involved.

So what sort of work?

If you’ve been lucky to work on bigger scale projects, then I would like to see ideas that mix technology and art with the real world in a seamless way. Some recent things I like ->

smart – EBALL

Great installation showcasing the agility of the Smart with a fun mashup of the real world and a digital experience.

5th Avenue frogger

Another simple mashup of the real world and a digital experience.

Hack Projects

I always like to see fun little projects e.g breakuptext.me or iQuit, or things people make at hackdays like The Infinite Jukebox. The more of these the better. It shows you are actively getting mucky with making little ideas.


Examples of prototyping are always great. Especially if you are pushing at the envelope of a new technology. You can’t just rely on this type of experimentation. Prototyping should lead to ideas.

A link to your Git Hub would be the cherry on top.

  • Summary

Be curious.
Always be making (with friends if possible).
Go to hackdays.
Release your projects into the world.
Drop me a line.

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