Innovator 25 EMEA 2016 | Holmes Report
Our second Innovator 25 class in EMEA again provides a unique glimpse of our industry’s future, shining the light on those individuals who are reshaping influence and engagement in an era of dramatic marketing and communications disruption.

The people recognised here come from various corners of the industry — creative strategy, digital execution, influencer mapping, media storytelling — but together they represent a compelling picture of what marketing and communications looks like today, and where it is heading tomorrow.

Just under half of this year's class are based in the UK, with multiple nominees also coming from Dubai, Spain and Sweden. There is considerable breadth beyond those markets (Middle East and Africa account for 20%) reflecting how much of the region's communications innovation is being driven by less mature markets.

Each of the Innovator 25 profiles explores their views towards the state of industry innovation, while also providing unique insight into the habits and learnings that drive our class of innovators. Many, for example, are early birds when it comes to looking for inspiration. "Very early in the morning, when everybody sleeps and everything is calm. It is the best moment of the day to work and think," said Daniel Ureña from MAS Consulting.

Almost as many, among them Kaspersky Lab's Rainer Bock, picked the evening or night as their favourite time of day: "I love the night. When distractions of the day are gone, it is getting peaceful and quiet and you can focus your thoughts on what you want, not what the world around you demands"

Only a few of the group named specific mentors, preferring instead to point to collective sources of advice, whether clients, staff or, in the case of We Are Social's Mobbie Nazir, "everyone you meet." And while reading was a common source of inspiration for the Innovator 25, there were some less conventional answers too — notably from H+K Strategies' Candace Kuss ("mudlarking") and Elodie Monchicourt-Lecuyer from France's Matriochka Influences ("sleeping").

As for places, many picked London as their most innovative spot, along with several US cities, Barcelona, Stockholm and Tokyo. Not everyone chose a geographic location though, including Saudi Princess Reema ("the dinner table"), Weber Shandwick's James Nester ("kindergartens") and TCS CMO Abhinav Kumar ("your head").

When it comes to innovation, marketing and PR have the greatest opportunity to make an impact around influencer relations, say 56% of our innovators. Just over a third, meanwhile, point to creativity and content. Encouragingly, only 26% thinking PR is lagging other marketing disciplines in terms of innovation, compared to 65% last year. 32% think the PR industry is ahead, a big jump on last year's paltry 12% proportion.

When asked who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR, the CMO no longer comes out definitively on top, as in 2015. There is a big jump for the CEO and CCO, with both of these roles, along with the CMO, scoring 38%.

Which brands and agencies do they find most innovative? Many of the usual suspects — Tesla, Lego, Airbnb, Unilever, Red Bull and Nike — figure, along with some less obvious companies, including Africa's Ecobank, Swedish agency Volontaire and South African marketing services group Joe Public.

More trends from the EMEA Innovator 25 can be viewed in the infographic below, while you can read all of the Profiles, and explore their inspiration, advice and career learnings, using the navigation menu on this page.