EFN Blog

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16 Jan 2024

The digital economy is coming. You ready?

“You’re not going to lose your job to AI. You’ll lose your job to someone who knows how to use AI better than you,” said Howard Suissa, founder of EFNPro and Suissa Design, at a joint panel discussion held during Edmonton Design Week and Edmonton Startup Week.
Panel member Sam Raheel, who founded the digital marketing firm Rapid Boost, agrees. “When Photoshop came along, everyone said we won’t need designers. Well, that didn’t happen,” said Sam.

Is everyone using AI?

No, but about 50% of tech professionals are, according to Chase Christensen with RBCx.
If you’re not already exploring the tools AI offers, it might be a good time to start.
“The only way to keep up is to embrace this change. Every day we need to learn,” said Sam. “You have to be an expert on all the tools, and find ones that work for you.”
When it comes to using AI for design, Howard said the average person will not be able to compete with creative pros.
“Sure AI can create the image, but who crafts the prompt? We come from a headspace that knows what to put in,” said Howard.
Lindsey Monderman with Punchcard sees another potential for AI - a way for creative pros to supercharge what they have to offer. “How can you use these tools to differentiate yourself and provide value,” said Lindsey. “Being an early adopter means you get to shape what AI will be in the future,” she said.

The opportunity to lead

Unlike previous tools that came to market, AI learns from its users as it’s being built. “The creative community can be part of defining how this tool works in our business,” said Howard. “This is our space. We define it.”
As a designer, Howard also sees an opportunity for the industry to lead how the client-designer relationship will work in these digital environments. “You’ve heard of Web 3 and NFTs. There will be a day when the freelance designer will be creating digital outputs that demand different compensation terms, and automated processes,” he said.
That was the idea behind EFNPro - an easy-to-use contract management system that puts designers in the driver’s seat of defining working and payment terms. As the digital economy grows, Howard sees EFNPro grow to offer options like seamless royalty payments so admin work isn’t a barrier to success.
In the end, Howard sees creative pros leading the way. “With the digital economy, you position how the tools get developed, and how your clients engage with you. It’s an exciting time.”
This blog is based on a panel discussion called “Being a Creative in the New Digital Economy” which was a joint event hosted at Edmonton Unlimited as part of Edmonton Design Week and Edmonton Startup Week.