With the London Design Festival recently coming to a close, we wanted to explore the understanding of creativity and technology, and look at how the festival showcased the relationship between the two.
We are beginning to see increased use of technology to manifest ideas and concepts into our physical environment, with the application of experiential marketing. Installations at the Design Festival employed tech to engage with the public creating tangible encounters.
Creativity for everyone
When asked to describe creativity we naturally recall images of painters and sculptors, when in reality it is more about problem solving and progression. In a recent Forbes article it was stated that creativity is for everyone and that incremental creativity is the most prominent, and we couldn’t agree more. What we mean by this is that creativity need not be ground-breaking but rather encourage or facilitate improvement, adaptation and moving forward, as a concept, business, brand etc.
In the latest Future Jobs report conducted by the World Economic Forum, the most important skills in 2020 will be complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. It is important to remember that creativity is something that technology has yet to master and the human element still reigns supreme.
The thought provoking and inspiring ideas are the ones which dominate the meaning of creativity, it is not always defined by originality or extremes but rather about honing an idea, solving a problem or improving a concept.
In the current day and age, technology encompasses a multitude of topics and elements. Tech can be anything from the world wide web to virtual reality. Wired Magazine proposed that VR creates experiences, and that content that moves the body will also move the mind. This sentiment was confirmed at a recent symposium we attended as part of the Open City Documentary Festival- Expanding Realities. There, we heard from Fifer Garbesi- a virtual reality producer and director intent on testing the limits of the medium through mixing immersive technologies in new ways.
The human insight behind the aforementioned concept suggests that for people to relate to each other they need to experience it for themselves, a literal execution of “walking a mile in another’s shoes”. The application of technology (and virtual reality in particular) transforms ideas into physical solutions.
At this year’s London Design Festival, one of the many installations that brought creativity and technology together was that of Belonging. It created an inclusive experience, which did not discriminate based on physical ability and simulated the feeling of flying with the use of technology. The installation in question was made up of a hot air balloon, linked to a virtual reality headset and brain wave measuring device. Each visitor was able to take part and feel the simulated feeling of flying while moving the hot air balloon through the space using the power of thought.
The use of virtual reality, while effective, has become relatively mainstream. What really interested us about this installation, was that of brain activity, electrodes and the use of brainwave tracking to move a physical object. It made use of incremental creativity by engaging with an already well-established issue, that of disabilities. It effectively communicated the lack of awareness around feelings of alienation and exclusion in the disabled community.
The technology utilised virtual reality and the power of thought, to resonate with the public on a human level, by converting their concept into a physical manifestation. Belonging created empathy by harnessing technology, however they carefully crafted an inspiring narrative before simply using VR.
The power of thought is highly relevant, and was integral to the ‘Belonging’ experience. Without the mind power element, it would perhaps have been seen as a pure VR venture, something which has been widely used in experiential marketing.
We can understand the way people react to certain elements in an experimental sense by merging VR and neuro tech, allowing us to tailor experiences for the correct audience. With neuro tech, people can control their adventures. Neurable, a brain computer builder sees the value in human empowerment through neuroscience and mixed realities.
A further example is that of Manic VR. The author- Kalina Bertin, also spoke at the Expanding Realities Symposium, and noted the benefits of emerging tech in allowing us to really get into the heads of those suffering from mental disorders, bipolar disorder in this case, in particular. Guided by the compelling voices of Kalina’s siblings, Felicia and François, who, for the past three years, have used their sister’s voicemail as their personal diary, the user embarks on a journey to decipher the whirlwind of mania, psychosis and depression. The manifestation of such a real issue in a comparatively physical form, stimulates the creation of memories and empathy, both confirmed in prior research studies.
What we learned from Belonging & Manic VR;
Experiences can be immensely effective when using creativity and technology in tandem and it is possible to apply the essence of this to brands across industries.
Technology has the ability to create immersive experiences that can trigger a spectrum of human emotions and reactions. For example, VR allows us experience a new perspective which can trigger empathy. Tech has the power to bring emotional elements and conceptual ideas into the physical world, something which brands can easily employ.
When finding human truth and understanding the behaviour that drives decisions, what better way to discover those insights than to literally ‘get into their heads’. VR enables neuro tech which allows us to gain insights into the emotions of people and their responses to stimuli.
Creative and technology can together stimulate a target audience to engage with a brand or be a part of an experience, which can in turn change perspectives and build brand equity through, what Garbesi defines as, moving from ego to collective consciousness via shared experience i.e. through the medium of VR.
It is fair to say that truly good tech and experiences have a creative origin and that creativity came long before technology. Although creativity informs technology and is the starting point, they have a symbiotic relationship and work together to achieve excellent executions, with creativity largely forming the conceptual genesis to technological advancements.
The relationship between creativity and technology is as synergetic and neither one must necessarily precede the other as a rule. However one must not make the mistake of using mainstream technology merely to stay relevant but rather to harness it when appropriate. We believe that there is an opportunity to combine current tech with science, in conjunction with creative inspiration.