George Wong is a co-founder and executive director of IOIO Creative, a multi-media production company in HKSTP’s Incu-Tech programme. He dreams of having a museum of his own, where he can curate and exhibit his creative work. He is open to ideas about how to fill the museum beyond the fact that there will be commercial and artistic works displayed side by side. However it plays out, he is ready to bare his mind for the audience to explore up close.
What George is doing at IOIO Creative is taking him closer to this dream. Founded in 2015, IOIO Creative applies technology to create interactive and experiential projects for companies, organisations, brands and venues. The creations are designed to deliver specific messages for promotions, entertainment or educational purposes. The projects often integrate computer images, virtual reality and augmented reality alongside more conventional media such as lighting, paper, timber boards and metal.
Collaboration with multiple public and private organisations
The company won the Gold Award of the Best Digital Entertainment Award (Interactive Design) in the Hong Kong ICT Awards 2017. Its creation lets viewers see a miniature world through VR glasses, much like transporting them to the land of Gulliver’s Travels. Over the years, IOIO Creative’s clientele has expanded to include government departments, statutory boards, property developers and retailers. The client list includes the City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Water Supplies Department, the Planning Department, PMQ, Google, Sony Playstation, City’Super, AIA and Toys "R" Us. The value of the projects ranges from HK$70,000 to HK$3 million.
In the 2nd Sónar+D electronic musical festival held at Hong Kong Science Park in March 2018, IOIO Creative exhibited Tapping, a wind instrument with multiple nodes that produced soothing sounds as the wind altered the data collected by the accelerometer and bent the speakers to change sonic parameters and audio phasing. It offered a sensational experience integrating technology and art. The company also created a movable mechanical phoenix for a real estate project in Fuzhou. It worked together with projected images to deliver a spectacular light and sound show.
Creating fun and inspirational interactive experiences
George insists that IOIO Creative will always be a commercial company rather than a high-brow artist. Its projects will be about customers’ needs and making an impact. “Artistic value is not our primary driving force when we conceive a project. We want our creations to be fun, compelling, revolutionary and inspirational! Modern technology has expanded the creative horizons for us. If we want to achieve what we set out to do, then the audience should be able to hear, touch and see our creations. That’s our primary goal,” he says.
Among IOIO Creative’s staff of 20 people, there are engineers, interior designers and programmers. George himself majored in journalism and communication at university, and he is the chief project planner in the company. He says that it is vital to have people of different backgrounds, so that they can come up with exceptional, atypical and unconventional concepts through brain-storming.
Cross collaboration stimulates creativity
George believes that integrating artistic concepts with technology is the company’s key to success. To ensure seamless integration, he has set up an art and R&D team to conceptualise different scenarios from an artistic perspective, and at the same time study the attributes and potential of different forms of new technology. When the two converge, it will give rise to stunning and surprising outcomes.
As well, in order to extend the team’s knowledge base and stimulate their creativity and curiosity, the company holds a sharing gathering every week to let colleagues talk about their research or topics they find interesting. While the sharing may not instantly induce ideas, it may lead to something interesting further down the road.
Expanding global business networks at Science Park
IOIO Creative has been a Science Park company for more than two years, and it will graduate from the incubation programme next year (2019). George says that HKSTP has been providing support measures to help the company expand its business network through overseas trade shows, for example. It is also connecting with potential customers and business partners, such as Park companies working on robotics technology, which may lead to future collaboration. He also hopes to strengthen talent recruitment, including overseas talent, through Science Park’s human resources networks.
George says IOIO Creative has clear objectives and the business is taking hold. It doesn’t need to source funding and would rather avoid having external investors influencing its development strategy. It will continue to apply new technology to create compelling experiences as well as expand into new markets to find room to express creativity.
George reveals that IOIO Creative is taking on projects in mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore. At the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, it will pitch for opportunities to design art and technology integrated experiences for the high-profile global event. Let’s keep an eye out for IOIO Creative’s works on the international stage.