“When you have regular access to running water, it’s easy to forget just how incredible the tap is.”
That’s a line from Google Creative Lab’s Robert Wong who, alongside Steve Vranakis, lifted the lid on how creativity is the driving force behind Google’s products that help shape our future.
His point was a simple one: many people aren’t aware of just how many products Google has, and even with those they are familiar with, it’s likely they’re not being used to their maximum potential. Therefore, the Creative Lab was set-up to do two things: 1) help solve real-world problems with their products and 2) empower people to put them to use.
The presentation was a tour de force of Google’s work over the last decade; from the 1st Google Doodle that let you record songs on a digital guitar hosted on the homepage with a stroke of your keyboard, to their touching Super Bowl ad about a young man falling in love with a Parisian girl and taking the plunge to start a new life.
It was all very touching and ultimately designed to drive home the point that technology is great, but it’s the human element we apply to it that makes it even greater – whilst also using a range of products people didn’t realise Google offered. Win.
Google’s ‘Dear Sophie’ campaign was another prime example of how they used emotion to demonstrate that the web is what you make it, with Wong going on to state, ‘people forget what you say, and they also forget what you do, but they will always remember how you made them feel’.
At the height of the Greek economic crash, Google took it upon themselves to partner with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Education, the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) to create a free-to-use hub for small businesses in the tourism sector to upskill their digital expertise and ultimately help them survive. It’s initiatives such as this that demonstrate the true value that brands such as Google can deliver, making the world a better place.
Their incredible humanitarian effort as part of the Syrian refugee crisis was perhaps the most powerful – creating a mobile web app for those stranded just 36hrs after the story broke, where refugees could get basic information, translated in to their language, with local maps for shelter, transport and local help centres at the click of a button.
Wong concluded it isn’t technology that drives innovation, but the human heart and imagination – and creativity is how it manifests itself. We live in a world where we created the concept of time, the rules we live by and the borders we govern, so therefore everything can be reshaped.
Creativity and technology will have a significant role to play in how we reshape our future.