Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Graphic Design
Year of graduation: 1991
When Cameron Wykes tells people his job title is Chief Invention Officer, he is accustomed to the puzzled looks that generally come his way. “No one really knows what I do for a living which works fine for me,” jokes Cameron, who has been helping foster innovation at ad agency kbs+p toronto since 2010. He explains his role this way: “I encourage people to ask ‘What if…?’ and help them bring that idea to fruition for our clients and agency. For our clients, we use the invention mandate as a way to drive ‘industry firsts’ for our clients – this helps them essentially leap their competitors in the marketplace and stand out.”
Building this culture of invention has taken shape in many forms, says Cameron, who is also in charge of the agency’s digital division, BabyRobot. Staff can indulge in invention work at the agency’s fully-equipped “Maker Space”. An agency-wide competition called Inventapocalypse, allows staff to pitch their invention ideas a la Dragons’ Den with the winning idea receiving funding.
With the speed of innovation today, staying on top of the “next big thing” can be a daunting prospect. But Cameron welcomes the challenge. “I wouldn’t be able to keep up if I didn’t truly love to do it. If you have a passion for something, it is part of your everyday existence,” says Cameron, who regularly writes and speaks about innovation within the marketing industry.
Cameron has been living in the digital space since his time at Sheridan studying graphic design. After graduating in 1991, he applied his design skills to the creation of multiple digital agencies, all of which have merged or been sold to traditional advertising firms. His many industry awards include Best of Show at the Digital Marketing Awards in 2005, and being named one of the Worldwide Top Sites of 2007 at TheFWA.com.
So what technology trends are intriguing Cameron lately? Wearable technology – although it has a way to go - will become less intrusive and more intuitive – far beyond just something on your wrist, he says, pointing to conductive fibre in clothing and smart contact lenses as areas to watch.
Of course, 3D printer technology certainly holds out much promise, he adds, given what he calls “the democratization of manufacturing.” But the challenge lies in making this new technology both user-friendly and affordable. “I think you will find this market start to take hold when a consumer-friendly 3D printer can print in a number of substrates - one that prints in chocolate in the kitchen and aluminum in the garage, for example. Exciting times ahead for sure.”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Arts and Design programs which are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Sheridan is only the second institution in Canada to receive this prestigious accreditation