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EMERGING TRENDS & TECHNOLOGY

Designing for Change with AI

Chris Duffey, Adobe

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Close your eyes—literally close your eyes for a few moments after this first sentence—and imagine yourself blindfolded trying to navigate a complex maze.

Pretty unnerving, but this is how many businesses, marketers and creative agencies to a certain extent feel. We have been challenged with navigating a fast-changing landscape where in many cases we do not have all the tools to be successful in the marketplace—until now. Artificial Intelligence (AI) with a subset of machine learning is a practical tool that is impacting not only how businesses / brands / agencies can innovate, but what they innovate through new products, services and content.

The societal transformation we are living in is an unprecedented time. Digital is disrupting every industry and everyone. Content is being consumed across more devices at a faster rate than ever before. People expect their experiences to be personalized, connected and flawless across every touch point and this is at the core of the digital transformation. It’s now all about the experience. However, great experiences don’t just happen, they have to be designed. As we know, design and creativity must be at the core of businesses, not an afterthought. Great design affects the entire experience, well beyond how something looks. Companies that thrive in today’s market are in the business of delivering great experiences. They are, in fact, Experience Businesses. Designing experiences can be complex, however by embracing the complexity we can now create extraordinary personalized experiences at scale.

The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same—it is still about putting the customer first and designing great experiences for them. Human Creativity + AI will be an evergreen resource which will have a transformative effect on every aspect of businesses as we know it—the sky is indeed the limit when it comes to Designing for Change.

We as humans are hardwired for change. As neuroimaging studies prove in Repetition Suppression studies, when our brain gets use to something it displaces less and less response. Essentially, the more familiar we are with something, the less energy and interest we give to it. As the book The Runaway Species. How Human Creativity Remakes the World notes: “The brain always seeks novelty—it in fact gets excited when exposed to change. Advertisers have long known that constant creativity is needed to keep us engaged… and it is this balance of the familiar with the new that is the magical mix”.

With this in mind, Adobe recently announced the results of a qualitative research study on Human Creativity in the Age of AI. Adobe commissioned Pfeiffer Consulting to conduct in-depth interviews with creative pros in the US, UK and Germany to understand their process, pain points, and perceptions on how AI and machine learning can help. The full report can be found here.

The report examined the evolving relationship between creativity and technology in the service of creating experiences. Creative professionals shared their thoughts on:

It’s interesting to note according to the research, more than half of respondents expressed interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning given what the technologies add to the creative process. Just 12% of respondents said they were totally uninterested. The findings reinforce Adobe’s POV that AI can amplify the work of creatives (not replace them) by helping make them more productive, reduce drudgery and free creators to spend more time on creative work. 

The research showed that creativity is an innately human quality, which makes sense, and it was interesting to hear that many respondents found creativity to be a social process.

Surprisingly, almost 75% of the creatives interviewed are spending more than half of their time on tedious, mundane tasks (like solving technical issues and managing administrative tasks)—rather than truly creative work.

These finds align with SoDA’s very own Digital Outlook Study. Specifically, on the Impact of AI; where a majority of marketers and agency leaders have already bought into the idea that AI will impact the way they work:

More than 55% (combined client-side marketing leaders and agency leaders) believe that AI technology will significantly impact the way they plan for and design customer interactions

We’re still in the early days of AI in the creative realm, but it appears most creative pros see value in it for execution, not ideation. With the emergence of intelligent virtual assistants, creative control is however top of mind. In today’s age of automation and machine learning, the study went on to reveal that most creatives aren’t worried about AI taking their job, but there is apprehension around homogenization of creative output and potential for an increase of inauthentic work.

The key takeaway is creativity is profoundly human and will continue to be, but that emerging technology can extend the work creatives do and how they get it done. Creative problem solving has never been more important to help deliver on some of the most pressing business, brand and societal issues to further the human condition. Adobe, together with the creative community, is deeply committed to powering the creation, delivery and optimization of next-generation experiences while continuing to push the boundaries of human creativity and innovation.

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About the author: Chris Duffey spear-heads Adobe’s Creative Cloud strategic development partnerships across the creative agency enterprise space. Chris is an accomplished author on the inevitable relevance of AI and Mobile, with an affinity towards creating innovation for the most complex business challenges imaginable.