Code Worldwide

Finding the Creative Technologists of the future

Matt McNeany

Matt McNeany

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Given that the world is changing so fast, how can the Client / Agency community do more to help Academia produce the talent and skills needed to create modern, tech-powered marketing? Well, one answer to that is to get out there, tell them what we need and discuss how to do it. Last week I was privileged to be invited by the IPA to present on the subject of Creative Technology skills to the Academy of Marketing's annual conference, hosted by the University of Southampton. This was aligned with the IPA's Creative Pioneers initiative, itself a key tenet of Nicola Mendelsohn's presidency and her agenda to focus on skills, connections and talent to protect our industry's digital future. So as well as sharing a bill with the likes of Nicola, Facebook's Commercial Director, Stephen Haines, and the great and good of agencies like OMG, iSpy and Dare, I was representing the Creative Technology specialist to whole bunch of seriously brainy people. So no pressure then. Here's me making the case for the Creative Technologist - who they are, why we need them and what they look like.

So what did I learn? Well, this preparing-people-for-the-workplace thing is a difficult question. It's clear that there's a real disconnect here - even before we think about how to teach this stuff to kids, how do we keep the teachers up to speed with the commercial sector? Many of the people I spoke to were fully on-board with the need to find these people, but they all asked 'how can I teach this stuff if I don't have the people or materials?'. There's no easy answer to that - but if we're going to empower our universities to produce people who are already passionate about Creative Technology (and other modern marketing disciplines), we're going to have to forge deeper, longer-term relationships with Academia. In return for providing us with commercially valuable insights and research, we have to donate our time and knowledge of cutting-edge marketing. I'm sure some Agencies already do this well - anyone care to share some examples?