WPP’s AKQA has been named Best Workplace for Innovators by Fast Company in its second annual ranking. AKQA is the highest positioned company in the category for Marketing and Advertising in the list.
The global 2020 Best Workplaces for Innovators ranks 100 winners for creativity and openness that enables ideas, trust and a collaborative work environment for employees and clients from a variety of industries, including computer science, biotech, consumer packaged goods, non-profit, education, financial services, cybersecurity, and engineering. AKQA is ranked 25th overall.
Brian Vella, managing partner for AKQA, APAC region, stated, “It’s incredibly humbling to be named alongside companies like Shopify, Slack, Microsoft, Amazon and Google. It’s a tremendous honour.”
Recognition from Fast Company includes:
- AKQA’s work in Australia and New Zealand to halt the illegal logging of the Amazon rainforest, Code of Conscience (in partnership with the São Paulo team).
- Neuromuscle, a rapid skill acquisition tool, designed to transfer AI to the human body.
- Work with Tennis Australia, to make sports broadcasts more inclusive for people living with blindness or visual impairments.
- Artificial Intelligence projects transforming how world-class retail considered in-store analytics.
- Nike’s Unpack Your City (Shanghai office), a shoe that comes with an interactive reusable map of Shanghai
- Create with Air, an AR-enabled magazine (Tokyo office)
“As much of the world recovers from health, economic, and social crises, we need innovation more than ever,” stated Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company.
“Business, social and technology contexts are ever-changing,” Vella added. “With a fundamental belief in exploration and disciplined execution, our clients and staff have the knowledge and tools to both grow and shape the future. Our unique Research and Development approach focuses solely on exploring and works either alongside, or even inside, our clients’ businesses.”
Three AKQA workplace innovations are: AKQA Insight, an internal learning platform featuring courses from employees and a series of exclusive talks from influential authors, athletes, artists and entrepreneurs to stimulate ideas and expand the imagination and AKQA Bold, an LGBTQI+ initiative creating a work environment and culture across all offices where everyone is empowered to be their own, authentic selves. WFH FM, a global radio station born in Melbourne during COVID-19, has helped team members stay connected, featuring a morning talkback show, interviews with the likes of comedian Russel Peters, and live DJs from Melbourne, Sydney, London, Berlin and San Francisco.
“This recognition by Fast Company reflects the ambition and aspiration shared with so many clients to make innovation real. We’ve been quietly working towards this for a number of years and it’s now genuinely a core part of our business and this position validates it,” said Vella.
“We used to boast about employing around 2,000 people across 30 studios in 20 countries,” commented AKQA chief executive officer, Ajaz Ahmed. “Now that most of our team and clients are working from home, it feels more like one international studio, without the physical barriers of distance. The incredible recent work being recognised confirms that our hearts and minds remain connected. While everyone is adapting, adjusting and rebooting the ways in which we collaborate, it’s only through inclusion that innovation can flourish.”