Scott Belsky on future-proofing creativity

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In an era of technological disruption and breakthroughs like artificial intelligence (AI), creativity is more important than ever before. Not only does creativity ground us in our humanity, it is the human advantage.

The largest companies in the world now claim creativity and design as part of their competitive advantage. Everyone wants to be a creator or stakeholder of creativity. And in a world dominated by social media and constant connectivity, individuals and brands seek to stand out and creatively express themselves.

Against that backdrop, how brands and agencies harness creativity to connect with their customers is changing. To help chart the future of creativity, we are hosting a series of roundtable sessions at CLX, the new immersive and interactive programme with the world’s best content creators from Cannes Lions and Medialink.

Our roundtables will explore the secrets behind creating breakthrough experiences and how brands can leverage innovations in voice, AI, augmented reality and 3D content creation in their storytelling.

One constant of creativity is its continuous change. In our roundtable conversations, we’ll talk about how to use that change to your advantage. Here are three ideas I think are important to remember when you’re facing that challenge:


Creativity has more stakeholders than ever before

Gone are the days of the solitary artist. Creativity is now a team effort in which each person adds his or her unique talents. One design requires numerous eyes; it must be reviewed by multiple departments, from marketing to legal to the CEO.

To succeed, creative professionals must embrace the idea that creativity is a collective effort and we must build tools and systems that make collaboration simple and efficient. Three creatives working on the same project, then struggling to reconcile their separate versions, just won’t cut it anymore. Neither will emailing a file to a dozen stakeholders, then trying to make sense of their disjointed comments and requests. Modern creative tools must be optimized for collaboration.

And we increasingly need design systems that make it easy for many people working separately to produce designs that are harmonious and connected. These systems will allow creatives to share assets, colours, and logos, and then quickly and easily update those shared assets across all the designs they’re used in. If consistency of brand and experience is important, you need design systems to make it happen.


Creativity happens on its own terms and shouldn’t be constrained

Technology allows creative people the ability to do so much more than they could with traditional materials. But it has constrained creativity to a desktop. And we all know that creativity doesn’t happen in just one place. Creative ideas hit you on the bus, in a hotel room, on the beach. We need tools that give us all the power of creative technology, but let us use that power wherever and whenever an idea strikes us.

The best modern brands can think and act in real-time. Remember Oreo’s ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ social media campaign when the lights went out during the Super Bowl a few years ago? If you want to create in real-time versus relying on other teams and burdensome processes, you need professional-grade creativity on your mobile phone.

You need access to your brand’s fonts and assets wherever you are. You need to be able to create on your own terms at a new velocity of wit and execution. Fortunately, classic tools of creativity are now being reimagined as systems that transcend the desktop.


AI will remove the mundane, repetitive labour from creativity, unleashing more of our human potential

At Adobe, we’ve surveyed creative professionals around the world and they tell us that as much as half the work they do doesn’t require much creative energy at all. If AI can more quickly search the Web for the assets you need, remove a distracting telephone pole from video footage, or mask a complicated image with the push of a button, it’ll collectively give creatives millions more hours to work on the challenges that actually require their creative attention.

Creativity will be more essential in the future than it has ever been. It’s important that the tools and systems that we build now support the evolving nature of human creativity and the new demands that it will face. Creative professionals, and the purveyors of tools that serve them, have an incredible opportunity and responsibility to embrace the change, if only to keep creativity at the centre of humanity.

Scott Belsky is chief product officer at Adobe Creative Cloud. Learn more about CLX at Cannes Lions here.


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