Want to futureproof your creative job? Why not automate innovation?

Dr. David Dunkley Gyimah
4 min readOct 6, 2018


From Apple’s website photo by Ken Walker — article on the author

My Universities want to set up innovation centres. Creativity and innovation were the easier bits. You possess it, or otherwise develop a methodology for it. Putting yourself in different experiences gives rise to creativity. Steve Jobs endlessly visited museums as part of his workload. However, if you keep sticking to the same routine, within the same place, with the same group, you’re curtailing your creative possibilities.

Innovation and creativity need spaces to flourish, downtime, think time and the ability to go south and start again. For several years I have been an Artist in Residence at the South bank Centre. Innovation and creativity is at its core. Its director Jude Kelly ensured she was surrounded by a diverse group of people — all of whom had something unique, but together demonstrated 1+1=3 in the famous lines test.

Universities, hospitals, the police and schools all face a stifling future of creativity in their current forms, because of the constraints introduced by diminishing resources, and increased workload. Not only do you have no time at the end of the day, but the time to think does not exist.

At the South bank, Jude Kelly built an artist room, where we could go and “think”. It often attracted people walking of the streets as the door was always open and of course as part of the South bank, people thought there was an exhibition inside to enjoy.

“Er, Sorry ! What is this place?”, was the never ending chorus. “The artists room!”, one of us present would offer. “But you’re not doing anything?”, would be the reply. “Yes we are .We’re thinking!” So often we’ve come to ignore this, but you could look to any innovation and excavate time as a necessary link to how it went from idea to prototype.

We simply don’t have time, so why don’t we automate innovation and creativity? Sounds crazy, but why not let humans and machine learning take on the load? How might we do this? Here’s one route. If you google “creativity” david dunkley gyimah, what might you find? Do the same for your name too and see what it throws up. Can you see one way of harnessing creativity? If we can trust algorithms to do an assortment of things, from editing a trailer, booking a flight, finding us a taxi, diagnosing a disease, finding the next chess move, algorithms surely will be able to be creative, with human aid, our best ideas towards innovation.

That’s the race for the plateau, and the challenge ahead in this Internet of things as the next iteration of the web. This week in my lecture on cinema journalism, IBM’s Sean M. Tracey delivered what we should all recognise as the What Next? Our thinking will be eclipsed by neuro computing; ideas generated by machine learning with us. One of our new visiting lecturers Award Winning Wealth Manager Lee Robertson @leerobertson64 is leading this pathway in the financial sector — an app will do the heavy lifting by bringing people together. Harness all that conversation from some of the most innovative people on the platform and something else starts to happen.

In 2005 I won one of the top prizes in journalism innovation, the Knight Batten Awards in the US. I envisaged a future of interactive video, and produced prototypes to prove it. I called it the Outernet — (top photo) the Internet looking outside e.g. programmatic video. A decade before that I was one of the thirty young people then to introduce into the UK videojournalism — the idea that one person could do anything. It wasn’t practised professionally before then. We were equally derided. Everything indicates in this new trend that in trying to do more for less machines are the answer, not a decade away but now.

Last week I learned that a group of British grads have built an algorithm (12 million lines of code) which writes its own news stories filtering and showing bias. It will be the future of its kind; journalism will have to change because of the cost quotient. Journalists as they exist now will become redundant — faster than we know. The entrepreneurs’ hit rate, on the next round of funding could rival per capita the BBC.

Now that we know this, the question is what are you going to do next? On Tuesday I am at the creative industries federation event with my colleague Max Jarrett who is speaking about co-creating. We’ll be looking for kith and kin to explore this vision.

Dr David Dunkley Gyimah, here talking at Apple’s Regent Street branch store, leads the digital and interactive storytelling LAB



Dr. David Dunkley Gyimah

Creative Technologist & Associate Professor. International Award Winner Cinema journalist. Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled Top Writer,