Semi permanent – learning, loss and the future of creativity

How much should we compromise as designers and innovators… if at all and how is it that we value loss -in a world that’s built for winners?

AKQA’s CEO Ajaz Ahmed started Day 2 of Semi Permanent with some pretty mind blowing questions and ideas; enough to have even my pre-caffeinated brain sparked and ignited into a thought-front.

Ajaz was only 21 when he dropped out of college to start his digital agency AKQA in 1994. Prior to AKQA he worked for various hardware and technology companies inspiring his early career. He was never limited to one department within these organizations, he was fortunate enough to have experienced working in every department, learning respect and finding creativity in every area.

AKQA now has partnerships with the biggest companies in the world including Google- which most recently in collaboration with AKQA created the first series of Somesthetic-Transfers. These transfers appear to be traditionally painted portraits but are actually high definition 3D prints! Using machine learning to take both the style and texture of an existing artwork and apply it to another image to be printed in 3D. Merging the idea of traditional art and robotics and perhaps creating a new category of art that seeks to go beyond the masters towards new uncharted aesthetics.

For the experiment on show at SemiPermanent, the artificially intelligent tool was shown the human-painted picture of a mountain and lake.

A huge part of Ajaz’s success with AKQA is his perspective on compromise. While it is true that everybody seeks a sense of stability, it is more important that we never sacrifice our passion for money and also remember to embrace variations, change and disruption- something that we always strive for here at Persuaders. We believe as designers we should always as Ajaz says, ‘get BIG or die trying’; with no compromise on our work, we should always be creating products and ideas that we are proud of; and most importantly, to value our ‘failures’ or losses as lessons and use them to grow and never suck on the ‘mediocre lollipop’.

“Beware the lollipop of mediocrity, lick it once and you will suck it forever” – Wade Davis


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