How do you become a creative technologist

"The basic creative process does not change"

What role does the digital play when something new is created? Sascha Friesike, Assistant Professor for Digital Innovation at the VU University in Amsterdam, deals with this question.

Mr. Friesike, you research creativity and what it actually means in the digital world. What makes this topic so interesting for you?

SF: Creativity, i.e. the ability to create something new, is becoming an increasingly central skill in our age characterized by automation and digitization. If we turn back the clock and see how many people did creative activities 200 years ago, 75 years ago or even 25 years ago and how many people today have to work creatively in some form, then we see how central this ability is for our society has become. It's also exciting because digital tools are helping more and more people to be creative these days. In my experience, people find a lot of satisfaction in creative processes, to see what the digital means in this context and how, for example, it enables people to create something in the first place. If we better understand how we can support creative processes, we can do just that better.

What can congress visitors expect from your keynote “Creativity and Digital Transformation: Challenges in Transition”?

SF: Good question, I still have to work out the lecture, but one observation perhaps in advance: The fundamental creative process does not change due to digitization, but a lot changes within the process itself. Feedback, for example, comes earlier, inspirations are easier to find, but everyone finds the same. It struck me that people like to pretend that the rules of the game have all changed completely, but we have to talk a lot more about what actually makes a really good product or good content and only in a second step how we use digital tools can to get there.

Critical voices say that technology is increasingly influencing the production of creative content. What is your opinion on this?

SF: I think it's a common mistake to let technology determine where content should go. Of course, new technologies always allow new forms of content, but what the actual content is shouldn't be driven by technology. On the contrary, the technology should be driven by what content people want to create. We also tend to underestimate how much people are attached to existing formats and how difficult it is for them to accept something that does not fit into their thinking. Much is technically possible, but then fails because of the audience.


Sascha Friesike is Assistant Professor for Digital Innovation at the VU University in Amsterdam and an associated researcher at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). At our digital congress Mind the progress In 2018, Friesike held the opening keynote on the topic of "Creativity and Digital Transformation: Challenges in Change".

About Mind the Progress

WithMind the progress In 2018 we launched a new digital congress that puts content and technology, creativity and digitization in relation to one another. Does the form determine the content or does the content determine the form? Current and historical approaches mix with visions and utopias of the future. Keynotes, lectures and panels by local, national and international speakers are complemented by an artistic and technical supporting program. A continuation in 2019 is planned.

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