Occupy Me


This article was written on 17 Mar 2015, and is filled under Advertising, Business, Technology.

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Gemma Milne: Creative lab technologist


Gemma Milne works as a Creative Lab Technologist at Ogilvy & Mather Group in the innovation team, Ogilvy Labs. She studied Maths at St Andrews University and has previously worked as a chef, an investment banker, a teacher and a door-to-door salesperson. Ogilvy & Mather Group is an international advertising company creating campaigns for Dove, American Express, BA and Philips, to name a few. Her role in Ogilvy Labs is to ensure Ogilvy is innovating both internally and for their clients by employing new technology, ideas and ways of working. She researches emerging trends, experiments with developing technology and partners with various industries to bring the incredible outside world of innovation into the agency.

OM: Can you describe an average day at work?

GM: I start by tending to the technology we have in our lab – turning it all on, making sure everything is working. Then I will read up on the technology and innovation news and share anything important, interesting or inspiring with the relevant people and teams. After that, there’s not really anything set – sometimes I will do a load of research into new start ups and technologies, sometimes I have meetings with companies who we could potentially partner with, other times I will be doing some workshops training people on new tech, or getting to grips with something new myself e.g. looking at the capabilites of a Google Glass set. Some days I will be attending or speaking at events surrounding advertising, technology or innovation so that we can learn, be inspired and find new people to work with.

OM: Have you always wanted to do what you do now?

GM: I didn’t know the job existed when I was at school and university, but as soon as I found out about the job, I knew I wanted to do it.

OM: And what’s the best part of the job?

GM: Getting to be on top on all the new technology, and sometimes test it out, all as part of my job as opposed to just a hobby.

OM: Do you feel you’re treated differently in your industry because you’re a woman?

GM: No – but then I’m very lucky to be in a rare all-female team (there are only 3 of us).

Sometimes people are surprised that I have such a big interest in and understanding of science and tech, but I’ve not experienced anything negative..unless you count that ‘surprise’ as something negative of course!

OM: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given? And what other advice would you give to anyone looking to become a Creative Technologist ? What qualifications and experience do you need?

GM: The best piece of advice I’ve been given is: ‘Happiness postponed until dreams are realised is happiness that never comes’. Basically, enjoy what you’re doing, even if it’s just a step to something else, and you’re ¬†likely to get more out of it. For my role, I guess it’s pretty niche, but my advice would be to make things – anything – in your spare time.

Show that you are a do-er, whether that’s coding something up, building something with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi, designing your own clothes…whatever it is, just DO something and don’t just talk about it. That’s the best form of experience – for a lot of careers, not just my own.

OM: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in the workplace or in your career?

GM: Saying ‘yes’ too many times and ending up overwhelmed. I’m a big advocate for going above and beyond and getting involved in projects outside your day job, but always remember what you are paid to do and don’t drop the ball on that. At the end of the day, doing your job really well should be the first focus before you add anything else on top.

OM: What does success mean to you?


Having a job which doesn’t feel like a job. I’m motivated by being in a place where I feel like I have the ability to shape my career, be inspired every day and always have the opportunity to be learning.

OM: What’s your feminist wish for the future?

GM: That there will be no need for ‘feminism’ because equality will be standard across the board.

Technology Resources:



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