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Critical Takeaways from Adobe Max

Posted on 12.04.2016

By Amberly Dressler, Managing Editor


Today’s marketers are given drag-and-drop interfaces to quickly create everything from social graphics to landing pages, analytics are dissected and given priority over time to create, and websites can be built with templates and even artificial intelligence – all advancements that have the potential to put creativity and collaboration at risk.

Creativity was the topic of conversation at Adobe Max in San Diego recently where a crowd of more than 10,000 professionals hung on every word from keynote presenters like fashion designer Zac Posen, film director Quentin Tarantino, photojournalist Lynsey Addario (who covered many of the major military and human conflicts of the last two decades) and artist Janet Echelman (who is responsible for epic art sculptures in cities across the globe). To say each was inspiring in their own right would be an understatement.

How many of us can say our work was worn by award-winning actors; our creativity will go down in filmography history; we were kidnapped on assignment; or we displayed our art from skyscrapers?

Our day-to-day responsibilities for creating content, landing pages, applications, images, promotional materials, presentations, reports – anything requiring opening a document and starting from scratch – may not match that scale but every element counts in the broader scope of delivering product to stakeholders and, more importantly, providing value and genuine engagement.

With so many external and internal influences, however, our creativity is impacted by everything from budgets and deadlines to processes and people. All of these influences play to the natural self-awareness, scrutiny and showmanship that creative types notoriously struggle to balance.

Even Echelman, whose sculptures transform cityscapes like London and Singapore and establishments like SFO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, says, “Every project I have no idea how we are going to get there.”

Get there she does, collaborating with everyone from local fisherman and computer systems to skyscraper owners and city planners – noting that “our colleagues are our biggest assets.”

With such high priority on purchasing technology that allows more people to conduct more tasks outside of their skillset, however, we’re cutting out the wrong people, which is a disservice to our audiences who will grow tired of uniformity.

Some systems, for instance, are allowing marketers to build apps, Web pages, graphics, sites (you name it, really) without coding knowledge, IT or designer intervention. Technology can’t be stopped nor should it, but our goal shouldn’t be to isolate ourselves or work with less departments in the name of saving time and money, but rather improve collaboration processes so that the people who know how to solve problems A through Z are trusted, allowing us all to be more creative within our niche. After all, creativity pays.

Adobe’s “State of Create 2016” global survey found that a business that invests in creativity is more likely to increase employee productivity (78 percent) and have happier employees (76 percent). The customers feel the impact of creativity as well with businesses investing in creativity having more satisfied customers (80 percent) and being more competitive (79 percent).

Despite the positive impact of creativity on society, Adobe states, there’s a gap in execution.

Only 41 percent of survey respondents describe themselves as “creative” and 69 percent report they are “not” living up to their creative potential.

“An investment in creativity and design is simply good business,” said Mala Sharma, vice president and general manager of Creative Cloud at Adobe. “Creativity and productivity go hand in hand, but investing in creativity isn’t on the agenda for enough of today’s leaders. This survey provides a big wake-up call to businesses that they need to think differently and give employees the tools and freedom to be creative.”

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