Saturday, 4 August 2012

Business versus Creativity – is that the issue?

The new acclaim that Alfred Hitchcock's film, Vertigo, has got by being voted by the critics as the Best Film Ever, has made me wonder. See Will Gompertz's article on the BBC web site. It's over 50 years old and in fact there is only one film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, that is post 1965 in the top 10.

Well, it's the critical acclaim part that we need to consider. Traditionally, business people have had a clash with interactive media people because the business lot say the creatives don't understand business and just push the envelope of technology for their own reasons not for business reasons. There is a potential clash and we have to admit to it. The iMedia creatives want to display how well they are being innovative and using the latest tech/gizmo/software enhancement and so on. This is what they are judged on by their peers, so all should understand their drive. However, they are meant to be utilising their knowledge for the clients who have their business drivers.

There's the conundrum. Do you try to play to the critics/peers, or do you follow what is often seen as the humdrum day-to-day churn. This isn't straightforward since the clients change their opinions on what will work best for their business by seeing how innovative twists can make the difference for their competitors. Then we get to another conundrum: do the clients take a risk or do they play safe.

In the end, it seems that like attracts like. So clients that are happy to take risks in the sector are attracted to the iMedia companies that demonstrate their innovation and creativity. This will be shown by their client list, their products and by awards. Clients that want (or need) a more stable offering and are less risk-averse will seek solid companies with a reputation for delivering sound products.

Now if you as an individual are not happy with what role you are fulfilling, is it that you are not in the right company for your own drivers? Where do you fit in this conundrum?

Pity the developers of the software that (either through a programming error or a configuration error when it was set up ... just what isn't known at the moment) went spectacularly wrong for a very risk-adverse financial services client and cost them $440 million in forty minutes trading last week. See this item in The Register. Bet the fall out there is going to be awesome! This may well be considered one of the humdrum parts of our sector but the consequences show the enormous responsibilities that can weigh in. Imagine the fall-out across other financial service clients and their demands on their developers after that! Is this your company's sector? Good Luck with that.