Advice for agencies


The Human + Machine Creative Teams are Upon us

Artificial intelligence is not just a tool to support brands in new creative endeavours, it will impact the very heart of business. What does all of this mean for agencies? Forrester’s Jay Pattisall and J.P. Gownder discuss how the agency workforce of the future will master an AI-powered creative process.

Jay Pattisall
Forrester Research
J.P. Gownder,
Forrester Research

Jay Pattisall is Principal Analyst leading Forrester’s research into the global agency marketplace and J.P. Gownder is V.P. Principal Analyst leading Forrester’s research into the effects of AI and automation technologies on the future of work.

The agency world is not immune to the pervasive belief that robots will displace human labour – although in this industry, embracing artificial intelligence (AI) and automation comes with trepidation that the human side of creativity will be forever lost. Even though marketers are tantalized by the fantasy of creators who won’t push back and agency executives enamoured by the prospects of these technologies addressing the challenges of their outmoded labour models, there’s just one problem: it’s far from the truth.


It’s a misconception that AI and automation will demolish agencies. In fact, rather than merely destroying jobs, Forrester’s research shows that AI and automation will transform or restructure 80% of all jobs by 2030. In so doing, both benefits and deficits will be created. AI and automation will eliminate certain tasks – those that are rote, repetitive, or predictable. As a result, most employees will get to spend more of their time and energy on higher-value tasks… but that also means they will need to upskill.


For example, rather than working on data hygiene, data scientists will deliver more meaningful insights. In other situations, AI will create new jobs, such as those needed to service an enhanced film industry built entirely around augmented reality. And AI will create the need for talent to adapt to robot relationships. For example, radiologists will yield some tasks to AI while seeing more patients.

Altogether, the human + machine creative team offers incredible potential for both agency employees and the brands they serve. With $12+ billion in agency technology and data management investments already, agencies are on the pathway to tech-up and transform. These investments are paying off in new business and now AI-assisted, audience activation platforms are becoming table stakes in global media and creative reviews. More nascent is the application of intelligent technologies to creative work and experiences. A few agencies have begun using dynamic creative capabilities. Others are adopting asset management platforms for talent and workflow. But very few have begun adopting these new tools and new ways of working into their daily creative process.


Agencies need human + machine creative teams to scale their creativity and problem-solving abilities, to make faster decisions, leverage new capabilities and enhance their value. Simply building or buying technology isn’t enough. It requires understanding how the agency workforce must evolve, grow, adapt, innovate and retire in order to create with AI and automation, transforming the composition of agencies and the work they do. Defining and planning for that future is the creative industry’s most critical imperative.