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How to use technology to bring big ideas to life

26 September 2023

This article first appeared in Campaign Middle East written by, Anton Christodoulou, Group Chief Technology Officer.

How can a company that believes that anything is possible use technology to bring big ideas to life, without stifling creativity or costing our clients the earth?

The challenge for us, and indeed for any company striding out for digital transformation, is how to execute this in a way that is cost effective, scalable, secure and, most importantly, actually works.

Our transformation journey hinged on addressing some key challenges, and opportunities:

Integrating diverse disciplines

Throughout our history, technology has played a powerful and interesting role.

Integrating technology into a creative-first organisation required that we did just that: integrate. We focused on finding ways to embed technology into our creative work in useful and meaningful ways, not as a novelty add-on.

It is often the technology that you cannot see that is powering some of the most memorable moments.

The advent of technologies such as realtime gaming engines, VR, AR, and generative AI, is transforming our internal creative workflow, which in turn is bringing our creative and technical disciplines even closer together, and even creating brand new roles.

Building a creative toolkit

Creative organisations that pride themselves on creating fresh and new ideas might shy away from the idea of ‘repeatability’ – so deciding what can be repeated without compromising creativity is key to a successful outcome.

What Imagination needed was a creative toolkit. A set of related but flexible technology tools to connect common elements of every experience at key stages. If they are common, there is no need for a creative way to do this.

In fact, just the opposite – there needs to be a very specific way that is also easily repeatable across every experience.

This unlocks rather than restricts creativity, as no single component is dependent on another, so the customer journey remains completely flexible. You only use the specific tool for the job, as and when you need it.

Connected Experience Playbook

A technology platform is only useful if it is grounded and capable of translating complex customer journeys into a set of repeatable components, without introducing significant technological overheads.

Applied through the lens of the end-user, we developed a simple to understand and non-technical process to define what is required to deliver each component and touchpoint in every customer journey.

By applying Imagination’s extensive knowledge and innate understanding of experience design, we were able to codify our approach.

Many tools already existed on the market to perform some of the specific functions we required. In fact, we retired a lot of code that had previously been developed in-house.

In our industry, one of the most important and critical ongoing components is the need to innovate, by putting Imagination into practise every day, in order to empower and inspire our teams and our clients, and demonstrate how we bring big ideas to life.

Our approach to this was the formation of Imagination Labs, our global innovation programme, and the physical and digital spaces we have created, so that we can always continue to experiment and learn.

Anton C E Christodoulou, Group Chief Technology Officer

Anton C E Christodoulou

Group Chief Technology Officer, Imagination London

Responsible for overseeing Imagination's global technology strategy, project and service delivery execution; to deliver immersive, engaging and measurable, smart connected experiences to clients including Mastercard, Ford, Major League Baseball, Jaguar Land Rover and Shell. Anton is continually exploring and integrating emerging experiential and exponential technologies, such as VR, AR, AI, Blockchain, and the productisation and ongoing development of Imagination’s Connected Experience Toolkit, XPKit.

Anton is a passionate results driven business leader, with over 20 years experience defining, developing, articulating and executing exec level technology projects. A driver, innovator and agent for change for early stage startups and some of the world's most dynamic, creative and challenging global companies, including Seagram, Walt Disney, British Telecom and Thomas Cook.