Business is now "who cares wins", says AKQA CEO

In a candid interview, Ajaz Ahmed, founder of design and innovation company AKQA, reflects on leadership, mentors and racism in British business.

by Paul Simpson

When he was 21, Ajaz Ahmed left university to launch his own business: the innovation, ideas and design company called AKQA (after his initials). In the 28 years since, he has merged his business into WPP, written three books, won an MBE for services to media and joined the boards of various charities, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Here, exclusively for Management Today, he reflects on his entrepreneurial journey.

What was the best decision you ever made?

Starting AKQA when I was 21 gave me a voice and connection in all the realms of art, science, business and culture that I’m passionate about. 

And the worst?

Failure shouldn’t be seen as a blockade to deter us but a moment of reflection and growth. Loss and limitations conceal deep lessons to help us let go, making us more real.

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