Stan Lim

Chief Creative Officer, Creative Group, dentsu Singapore

thought leadership

I have an invisible visual interface for how I see the world.

For the people I meet, sounds I hear, places I see, feelings I have, even something as mundane as my monthly finances. Every bit of information and emotion is tagged, filed, and later mentally visualized in some vague system. 

Maybe it’s because I have spent over 10 years designing information systems as part of work. Or maybe it’s because I have been an avid gamer since I first held a Nintendo cartridge when I was 9. The influence of technology on my imagination has always been a part of my life. 

Since young, it has delivered an element of magic. And in figuring out how technology worked, I would become more enthralled not less, because I would then understand a little of how to create that magic myself. It fueled endless daydreams of building working schematics for a model propellor plane soaring over a sandcastle with crabby inhabitants, back when life was a little slower.

The link between technology and creativity is a fundamental one for me as a creator.

It takes my imagination further. While my curiosity and emotions fuel my creative side, I think and create on technological terms. I may have understood it differently, but I have never really known another way.

Maybe because my messy life experiences are so neatly packed away as a data library, I find the right ones readily when I need to tap on them to glean some insight into life. I jump between recalled experiences. Switches fire in my mental menu and find unlikely yet surprising combinations that might spark an interesting creative answer. It creates a fertile ground for concepts and plot twists. Stories that explore their own potential while bouncing between chaos and order. You could call it a creative process. Some call it logic. I think it’s just how I think. 

Technology takes my creativity further.

Once an interesting idea worth creating reveals itself, technology changes what I create and how I create in a more tangible form. It is one thing to dream up the working propellor plane, quite another to get it working. This is where technology reveals itself to be a slippery trickster. There is always a hidden catch or ten. Something not quite so convenient. And it evolves every 3 months. Such is the rate of technological advancement. Just ask any technologist or developer.

But what I have realized is that staying very close to the nuts and bolts of working with technology, collaborating directly to produce it with other amazing technological talents on the team, can give a creator a handle on that slippery nature. Yes, technology still evolves. It will always have hidden catches. But it gradually gets less daunting and much easier to anticipate. 

With that reduction of fear and stress, magic comes within reach. Holographic illusions, virtual beings, sensor-triggered sensorial performances. That’s when we gain the best tools to bring our most unexpected ideas and stories to life. Do that over and over again and some day we will find ourselves to be fairly adept creators of magic.

But wait, creativity takes technology further too.

Once seen as the soulless, mind-confounding domain of the geeks. Technology has become one of the trendiest fields for job seekers, investors, and world governments alike. And not just because of its ability to get stuff done. The technological revolution is accompanied by creative intent. An intent to change perspectives and with it the ambitions and lives of humanity.

A great creative concept can change how technology is perceived. It makes technology accessible. Human. It turns an NLP-based algorithm into a household name called SIRI. A great creative concept can even change the mental model of the technology’s creators, sparking new vision. What might have started as a simple way to give voice instructions to the phone, would eventually be a personal assistant to our entire lives. Maybe even for when we’ve become a space-faring race.

This perspective and approach could perhaps be described as my creative double-on-the-rocks. The extra serve. When QR codes stop being mere QR codes but turn into something bigger that can spark organizational reform to deliver on potential new service designs.

So, on technology and creativity…

It is how I understand the world. 

It is how I think. 

It is how I create magic. 

It is a canvas for my imagination.

And maybe someday, it will be how I change the world to be a tiny bit better than today


Contact us: