How This Minneapolis Ad Agency Is Staying Ahead of Tech Trends

Carter Jensen turned Periscope into a mini innovation lab

Periscope Studios

For Carter Jensen, installing cameras into ceilings and drilling digital displays into the walls of Minneapolis-based agency Periscope to test prototypes of new mobile and emerging technology is just a typical day at work.

As Periscope’s senior emerging media and platform innovation strategist, Jensen is the agency’s go-to guy responsible for understanding future-looking innovations like location-based mobile beacons and platforms including Snapchat and Instagram and finding ways to make them work for clients such as Trolli and Target. “I’m the one who’s doing my best to not start a fire on my desk as I’m soldering different things together,” said Jensen, 27. “Yeah, there are times where I get in trouble [and] I hope that I’m forgiven eventually. Being the person who is looking to discover all these things, I have permission to push the envelope a little bit.”

Jensen actually nabbed his first gig with Periscope while still in college. But after two and a half years, he said, “I had this desire to broaden my horizons a little bit.” He decided to take a job at a startup in Australia, spending a year and a half there before returning to Minneapolis and, eventually, to Periscope.

In addition to tinkering with the hottest tech, Jensen is also responsible for explaining his work and schooling all of the agency’s departments—including creative, media and account management—on digital. For example, he built an internal blog platform that staffers use to post about tech trends for folks who prefer to read about technology rather than see it. More than 250 pieces of content have been posted to the platform in the past six months from 25 contributors.

“The way that you explain these emerging platforms and innovation to people is always different,” Jensen explained. “For some, a presentation and a demonstration is great—they understand it and run with it. With others, they need to get hands-on.”

Curriculum vitae

Senior emerging media and platform innovation strategist, Periscope
2016 – present

Strategist, Space150
Identified technology including mobile apps, smart home, experiential and social campaigns for brands.

Growth consultant, St. Kilda Rickshaws
Created digital tools like ordering and driver tracking for a transportation company in Melbourne, Australia.

How he got the job

“I had been working with small digital shops in Minneapolis, and then last year when [Periscope’s] new CEO and CCO joined, there was this demand for the new and next type of platforms and bringing those to life. That fit super well not only with my background but also my passions,” he said.

Staying nimble

“We turn prototypes and reports [around] in under two weeks,” Jensen said. “My experience within the startup world allowed me to say, ‘How are you going to get incredible things done with limited resources.’”

Global perspective

“No matter how much you read online, how many YouTube videos you watch or how many conferences you go to, you’re never going to get the experience of picking up and traveling to a new spot to see how different people do things [unless you do it]. That continues to inspire a lot of the work that I do,” he said.

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This story first appeared in the Feb. 20, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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