FLOW: Los Angeles Recap

Technology and Creativity at FLOW: Berlin

FLOW traveled to Berlin to discuss the theme of Technology vs. Creativity. But we quickly established that the day's theme was really more about how technology and creativity can work together.

Beyond the talks and presentations, the day also featured a breakout session with all attendees, plenty of chances to network, and some awesome interactive (and caffeinated) booths from our partners: Profoto, Creative Force, and SpinMe.

If you’re interested in attending a FLOW event in the future, view our upcoming events here.

Are You Being Replaced? Exploring Creative Feelings Towards AI And Automation

Jo Bird, Creative Lead at Lounge Underwear, kicked off the day and put us in the right mindset by making us think not about man vs. machine but man vs. self. She asked us how do we get over our egos to start harnessing the power of technology rather than fight it.

Here are some tips from Jo about harnessing that power:

  • Be innately curious and tap into that childlike mindset. Keep asking ‘why’!
  • With all this new technology at our fingertips, it’s on all of us to understand the intent and implications of using it. Use responsibly.
  • While AI might be joining the creative process, remember that we (humans) give context, which creates meaning, and in turn, that meaning creates value.

Video Editing At Scale

We were joined next by Adrian Sandu, Video Editing and Digitech Lead at Zalando. Adrian brought us into the world of video and digitechs. While Adrian spoke a lot about video editing, one underlying theme came out during his talk - the importance of the team around. And the value that comes from having digitechs on your team.

Here are a few other key takeaways:

  • When incorporating and scaling video with an image team, consider upskilling photographers and retouchers. Trust your team and their continued development.
  • Collaboration is vital with upskilling. Newly upskilled videographers can learn from video editors about the shots needed and so on…
  • Using a partner for editing can help with overflow and create flexibility for your in-house editing team.

Panel: Establishing Agile Content Production Teams

The panel was packed with years of Agile experience from Eloise Jones, Image Asset Manager at Selfridges, Sylvia Najduk, Creative Content Production Expert, and moderator Louise Balmford, Senior Director, Content Production. Eloise and Sylvia brought with them slightly different approaches to enabling agile content teams.

Their discussion ranged from what agile looks like on their teams to how to be a leader.

Here are the key takeaways from their panel:

  • First and foremost, everyone must understand the larger goals. To be agile, the team needs to understand what comes before and after them so everyone also knows their role has an impact.
  • How do you get people in the agile mindset? Let people play! Give your team the space to experiment with equipment, products, and setups. When a challenge or last-minute project arises, everyone will have had practice.
  • Feedback is an important part of the agile process - ask questions and turn feedback into a dialogue.

Annoying Studio Workflow Issues And How To Optimize Them

For a look into how to tackle annoying workflow issues, Michael Zubcic, Group Manager Photostudio Operations and Productions from Marc O’Polo Sweden, joined us on stage. Michael broke down normal annoyances, shared practical tips, and showed us how to approach solving these in your own studio.

Here are Michael’s 5 annoying workflow issues:

1. Photo Sample Journey

  • Find the bottlenecks by physically walking the journey yourself.
  • Where can you create flow? Are there physical bottlenecks keeping your samples from moving?
  • Your fix could be as simple as moving the retouching offices closer to the product.

2. Color Consistency

  • First, ensure technical consistency across all your equipment.
  • Then, you can tackle the process consistency.

3. Image Naming

  • Image naming can be overly complex, leading to errors. And extremely time-consuming.
  • The best naming is no naming - rethink when and where the naming is done and move it outside the studio.

4. Image Distribution

  • Saving time is key - look for partners to help streamline asset distribution to your buyers.

5. Equipment

  • Properly functioning equipment is essential for any studio, especially when working with freelancers.
  • Preparation is key. Create kits with all the equipment a freelancer needs when they walk into the studio.

Round Tables: How To Integrate AI Into Your Existing Studio Workflows

For the first time at FLOW, we introduced roundtable discussions where every single attendee had the opportunity to discuss in small groups. Before breaking off into groups, Brian Guidry, Partner at Pixelz, introduced the topic of integrating AI into workflows.

We collected the takeaways and have listed some below:

  • AI is a tricky subject - there are so many ethical and legal implications when it comes to using it for content creation.
  • Many people are playing around or testing out AI, but the reality is that there is not enough time to understand how it can be implemented into workflows.
  • Many mentioned that AI would be most beneficial in streamlining processes and workflows.
  • We are at the beginning of a very long learning curve with AI.

Establishing Agile

The Do’s and Dont’s of Digital Outsourcing

Outsourcing had been a word thrown around a lot all day. By a show of hands at the start of the presentation, nearly everyone in the room was using some form of outsourcing.Jakob Østerby, Chief Operations Officer at Pixelz, joined us onstage to discuss how best to approach digital outsourcing and the implications of outsourcing.

Here are a few pieces of advice from Jakob:

  • Rely on an outsourcing partner to provide you with the knowledge you don’t have in-house.
  • Transparency is key - expect transparency from your partner and be transparent with them about your own expectations and limitations.
  • Digital outsourcing needs to be held to the standards of all other industries. Ensure you partner with a company that holds the same values.
  • Success looks like many things, and don’t forget that success can be found outside what’s written in the contract or SLAs. Success can be built through in-person meetings or setting quarterly reviews with your partner.

From Theory to Practice: Building Your Dream Team

To leave us dreaming, we ended the day with Marysol García Gruben, Production General Manager at El Corte Inglés. She took us on a journey through her own career to highlight the importance of walking into any work environment with an open heart and mind.

Marysol left us all with a lot to think about. Here are a few of her key takeaways:

  • A team is more than rules and responsibilities. It’s also the emotions around moving towards the same goal.
  • A dream team is like a relay race. You need to be able to hand things off and trust that your team member will finish the race.
  • Information is power; data should be the backbone of everything you do. Analyze the past to help you decide how to move forward. This will enable you to understand how to move ahead/advance
  • Keep teams motivated by letting your team members get to know each other. Find a time and place where they can mingle and share their passions.
  • Profit will make you free. Getting to a profitable place will gain you leverage to tackle your dream project.

In Closing

FLOW: Berlin really tackled the day's theme head-on. We may have left people with more questions than were answered about how AI and technology fit into our creative lives. But it’s also become apparent that no one quite has the answer to how it all fits together - we are all just figuring it out together. Join us at one of our next FLOW events to help us unravel further the intersection of Technology and Creativity.