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‘Chief Creatologist’: Joseph Batista ’82
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
At business solutions powerhouse Hewlett-Packard (HP), Joseph Batista ’82 slices and dices his accounting, operations and technology know-how to create opportunities that clients might never have imagined. He calls his work understanding “business physics.”
“Every company is composed of a suite of assets, which I examine from a unique point of view focused on innovation. Then I combine services and products from HP’s rich portfolio to create new value for clients.”
Batista’s out-of-box assignment may involve building adjunct revenue streams for a Fortune 500 company that sells data, applying wireless solutions to improve a client’s hospitality operations, or leveraging technology to create an entirely new marketplace.
He offers this example: “When most people think of HP, they think of printers. I think of microfluidics: the precise control and manipulation of fluids for, say, inkjet printing. Then the task becomes identifying how HP’s expertise in microfluidics could benefit other products, such as blood glucose meters, security products, and even jet engines. Understand the business physics of companies, and you understand how to create value.”
The unconventional name for Batista’s visionary role emerged at a company staff meeting.
“I made a suggestion to my global vice president, who said, ‘That’s a novel approach. We should call you a creatologist,’” recalls Batista, who smiled and asked how many others the company had on staff. “The answer was ‘only one.’ So I said, ‘That would make me the chief creatologist.’”
The moniker stuck and, in 1998, became Batista’s official job title.
The former Marketing and Accountancy major sees the role as combining three areas of expertise: accounting and finance, operations and culture, and technology. He is quick to credit Bentley for “giving me the fundamentals. All those required courses in marketing, finance, accounting and business models really set the agenda for how I think about companies and how they operate.”
After graduation, Batista’s first stop was Digital Equipment Corporation. He started in sales, then moved into marketing at the company’s offices in Philadelphia. In 1998, DEC was acquired by Compaq, which was in turn purchased by Hewlett-Packard in 2002.
“I got to work for three different companies without ever leaving my seat,” he jokes.
One constant through the years is Batista’s connection to Bentley. His commitments include helping to organize his class reunions and serving as a guest speaker. Most recently, he offered insights on technology innovation to MBA students.
“I enjoy going back to campus,” he says. “Sharing your experiences with students is part of the journey.”
For those with creatologist ambitions of their own, Batista offer this advice: “Master the foundations of business, be mindful of creating value throughout your career and, above all, develop a unique point of view.”
Bentley University’s Co-Provost and Dean of Arts and Sciences Daniel Everett talked with us recently about a wide range of topics, including being featured in a new book by Tom Wolfe, two of his own upcoming books, the importance of studying the origins of language, and the value of a fusion approach to business education.