View of man with powder blue shirt and hunched shoulders beaming at camera.
Joshua McNutt. Image: Pramerica

How can you use creativity in a STEM role?

2 Jul 2019

Joshua McNutt had some preconceived notions about what work at Pramerica would be like, but was pleasantly surprised when he realised how creative he could be in the role.

“Pramerica is a subsidiary of Prudential Financial Inc, a US company that has been on the Fortune 500 list for the last 24 years. So, I had preconceived expectations of the role and had only considered it as a stopgap.”

Joshua McNutt’s initial impression is one that is likely very understandable to many readers and one that, as he explains here, was subsequently proven false. As a multidisciplinary designer at Pramerica, he uses his creativity regularly, so much so that it actually took him by surprise.

We caught up with him and heard more about his career.

What is your role within Pramerica?

I am a multidisciplinary designer in the communications department at Pramerica.

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

One of the great aspects about my job is that there is no such thing as a typical day. There are always a number of projects running at any given time – some span months, while others need to be turned around in hours, if not minutes.

One day I may be involved in a typographical project scrutinising the minutia of type, or hoping that today will be the day I get to use an ‘interrobang’. Another day I might be hanging out the back of a car with a camera trying to capture footage for one of our many videos that we create in-house.

What types of project do you work on?

The projects vary from designing and creating a website to creating an email header and taking photographs for one of our many events. However, I don’t consider that to be work.

The work is trying to ensure that all the content aligns with the company’s brand and ethos. That is always at the back of my mind when working on any project.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?

I started my design career in product design. I have since worked in graphic design, motion graphics, animation and 3D, but I have always approached my work with a product designer’s mindset: identify the question, define the problem, develop a solution and validate that solution with the end user.

What is the hardest part of your working day?

Every project is a priority. Being able to distinguish which is the true priority can be a challenge.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?

There are so many different projects running parallel to each other at any given time that it is often difficult to keep track of where your energy should be directed. We use our own variant of the Agile workflow, which has become an excellent way of tracking and maintaining our workflow. We have daily stand-ups, sprints and use a Kanban to track our work. And coffee.

When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?

Creativity. Pramerica is a subsidiary of Prudential Financial Inc, a US company that has been on the Fortune 500 list for the last 24 years. So, I had preconceived expectations of the role and had only considered it as a stopgap.

However, I have been pleasantly surprised to find myself in a vibrant, forward-thinking and open-minded company that is not only open to creativity but actively encourages it.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

I have been with Pramerica for a year and the role has evolved and grown from my very first day. Originally the role was defined as graphic design, but video production has become a large part of the role.

Explainer videos, brand content, company stories, customer stories, case studies and recruitment videos are a common ask now. The future of the role I can only guess at, but AR and VR would be a good guess!

What do you enjoy most about the job?

All of the above. I have found that Pramerica has cultivated an environment where it allows you to explore the boundaries of your role. They have actively encouraged and empowered me to build the career I want within the company – and all this only five minutes from my front door!

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