It seemed that after y2k all the problem of the industry would disappear and the world will be happy ever after. Interestingly what actually happened was opposite to it. In spite of the mind blowing technology advancements everyone around seems to be worried and scared.
The world of business is in a crisis. The IT glamor has evaporated even though “software is eating the world”.
In a conference when I asked audience about about when they had played angry bird games last, out of 1500 audience only 4 had played it and that too a week ago. Rest had not touched it in years. If you look around there are way too many companies who were icons and then fell apart in a short span of time.
In a letter to shareholders JP morgan CEO warned the shareholders about the disruptive innovations in banking space led by startups. This indeed is true — mobile payments, bit coins and peer to peer lending have not come from multinational banks.
While way too many business are struggling, there are few companies who are doing well.
They have introduced disruptive products & service never thought before. what sort of talent is fueling these disruptions? In one of the interviews Steve job claimed that success of Apple was due to its talent.We need to understand this talent because they seem to be redefining the world around us. In the marketing and agency world this talent is called creative technologist.
Creative technologist represents an amalgamation of design, making (or maker) and coding (or technology).
In order to appreciate the value and skills of creative technologist we first need to understand where the technologies or software come from. Philipphe kruchten from University of British columbia came up with the hypothesis that most of the solutions will fall under one of these categories and will always have some proportion of theft, process and intuition.
For known solutions, theft is the way to go. You try to steal from what is out there. Steal here is reuse btw! You know what architecture pattern to consider, what technology stack to use and you try to use maximum from there. In order to be a good thief you really need to know a lot. You need to know what is out there how much it is proven or has stood the test of time. We look for reliability and predictability all the time. In fact these is how IT industry works as well. Build and lift from your past experiences.
In new solutions there is nothing much to steal from. You leverage your imagination and rely a lot on intution to do something unprecedented. The solution is not proven or done before. No doubt this is the innovation zone and most successful companies are leveraging it to come up with mind blowing innovations.
By virtue of their skills a creative technologist is more comfortable with creative process, essential for new solution types. New solutions are more like art world where one has to continuously deal with new concepts and idea. The development process is more evolutionary and you are prepared to change and adjust things in between. The tinkering attitude of maker mindset is great source of ideas and prototypes leads to early feedbacks. the design skills help in creating meaningful and simplified solutions. This mindset is very different from conventional technologist who are trained to build systems that are expected.
Gartner came up with Bimodal IT structure that posits 2 types of team in IT system. One focused on stability and efficiency (Known solutions) and other on experimental, agile organization focused on time-to-market, rapid application evolution (New solutions). The known solution in my mind is more like Marathon and for applications which are directly connected to consumers in my opinion is not the right strategy. If you notice it is the marathon model where most of the IT companies operates and are facing biggest challenges. If agility is the success mantra for the new era then creative technologists are sprinters.
The demand for creative technologist is soaring. In lot of cases Companies are being bought not for their product or services but for their talent. The practice of acqui-hiring is already wide spread in the industry.
If the only legal way for business to beat competition is innovation then creative technologist are the new king makers.