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Freedom through technology? Or from it? by Abbie Boorman

I’m Will Harvey – Innovation Lead for creative agency VCCP. We work with some of the largest challenger brands in the UK and globally (such as Cadbury, TFL, O2, Easyjet and Compare the Market) to help them populate and influence culture.

Will_Harvey_VCCP_Innovation_Technology_Laptop_Backpack_Speaker

 

I started my current role three years ago and embarked on one of the biggest challenges of my working life so far. I left an established team, part of a large communications network, and had to create an entirely new role at VCCP shaping, moulding and informing as I went.

It’s my responsibility to understand, interpret, and then communicate the potential of emerging technology. I seek out trends and cultural shifts and translate them into tangible terms and advise on how specific innovations might affect my colleagues and client businesses (and myself, of course!)

A typical day? It simply doesn’t exist. I have to react as quickly as the technology itself evolves; answering enquiries, needs and demands from my colleagues and our clients. It’s fluid, challenging, and I have to think on my feet every day. But, ultimately, it’s incredibly rewarding.

Will_Harvey_VCCP_Innovation_Technology_Laptop_Backpack_Bag Will carries the #LiveFree Backpack

 

I have three particular focuses:

Building external relationships with inspiring people from interesting companies. Drumming up internal enthusiasm and motivation of the 700 strong partnership, and then facilitating change and education which influences the work we produce.

These three areas are the building blocks of facilitating innovation for VCCP. I meet an enormous number of interesting, stimulating, and sometimes bonkers external partners. By exposing them to the right internal people and then nurturing ideas, opportunities develop into the projects we work on.

Will_Harvey_VCCP_Innovation_Technology_Laptop_Backpack_Mac Will's CES gear and the Southampton Backpack

 

Which comes first - creative ideas or the tech itself?

Working within the intersection of Creativity and Technology is a great motivator. As a Creative Technologist for 4 years in my previous role, I saw firsthand the challenges of making a happy marriage of the two.

I have two desks that I operate from: one in the creative department and one in the digital studio – I act as conduit / babelfish between the them. On-going changes in cloud-based services from the likes of Google and Microsoft mean that I can be device-neutral. Whether making notes on ‘Google Keep’ at a conference 6 months back, an email with an asset a client has sent me, or access to background information on a contact made years ago (but due to meet again in half an hour) I’m never more than a tap away from what I need.

Technology is now – at last – starting to adapt and conform to our needs and behaviours, rather than the other way around.

With more and more technology in physical spaces, and the range of software that populates my personal digital devices, it's important to find and keep a proper balance. I’m acutely aware of this evolution, and the newfound willingness of people to take back control of their lives that may have been disrupted by general-use of technology.

Will_Harvey_VCCP_Innovation_Technology_Laptop_Backpack_Organised The #LiveFree Backpack in Black Canvas

 

We never switch off

As dual-screening becomes three, where will we go next?

A growing number of individuals (including myself) are now exploring relief from this relentless exposure, searching to experience freedom through a number of avenues as we pursue the elusive work-life balance.

Going ‘off grid’, whether it’s the self-discipline of turning off notifications or devices after a certain time, or through finding and enjoying moments of meditation during the day, or even the simple act of getting up from the seat at your desk – thousands of us need to make changes to keep sane and healthy.

Technology developments, ironically, can help here. One of my favourite recent additions is a timer-based gradual light that now wakes me up in the morning, rather than sound or speech. Within three weeks of my Philips Hues being installed I’ve already noticed a dramatic difference in my mindset and wellbeing.

 

We’re challenged daily to adapt and evolve to the many curveballs thrown at us. It’s more important than ever to surround ourselves with the right tools and skills not just to do our jobs, but more importantly, to survive and thrive in the modern world.

 

Will_Harvey_VCCP_Innovation_Technology_Laptop_Backpack_London The #LiveFree Backpack in Black Canvas

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