Innovator 25 EMEA 2017 | Holmes Report
HR190---Title-Graphic HR190---Headshot-Graphic Our third Innovator 25 class in EMEA provides a valuable glimpse of our industry’s future, shining a spotlight 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.

Unsurprisingly, the highest proportion of our inaugural class are based in London (60%), followed by Dubai and Johannesburg. Other markets represented are Berlin, Nairobi, Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm and Lisbon. Innovator 25 EMEA - Location 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. Most of this year's class, for example, are earlybirds when it comes to their favourite time of the day for finding inspiration.

"Morning, because I will make my dreams come true," says Wellcom's Thierry Wellhoff. Or, as Golin's Bibi Hilton puts it: "Listening to the Today programme on my morning walk to the Tube. It gets my brain ready and whirring for the day ahead." 

"Walking to work, podcasts on," added Ketchum's Ruth Yearley in a similar vein. "Feeding my personal data bank."

Several, among them Keri-Ann Stanton from Avatar360, chose for the evening for similar reasons — namely lowered external pressures. "Dusk. Because in the PR and comms world it often means the crisis has passed, you can take a breath, and of course, sundowners! And if the crisis is just starting to take root, at least you have the quiet of the night to guide you."

Unity's Gerry Hopkinson also prefers the evening hours, although for different reasons: "Early evening, what the Italians call the Passageiata, because it is a great time to people watch and drift along and re-energise."

Several members pointed to specific mentors, often senior figures who have guided their careers and still serve as critical sounding boards. Others, however, see less need for this kind of guidance. "I think innovation is something that you need to teach yourself," explains Weber Shandwick's Marcus Dyer. "If you’re taking innovation from someone else then...well...I’m not sure that’s innovation."

Techdept MD Daniel Kirby offers the most unfiltered opinion, perhaps — "Dan Sullivan, I pay him to be" — referring to the executive coach. 

And almost everyone believes an open-minded approach, often requiring travel, new people and new experiences, is the best way to find inspiration. "By being open and receptive to the world; usually clarity and inspiration reveal themselves to me in calmer moments," says Accenture's Jehan Abdulkarim. "Team gatherings also help, especially when they’re informal and people are able to relax and talk freely."

"Travelling," adds Clockwork Media MD Tom Manners. "I travel constantly for work. I find getting out of your 'natural habitat' has a tendency to highlight the parallels and differences between home and wherever I am. It's often in those moments that I find inspiration."  

There was a broad range of opinion when respondents were asked to name their most innovative place in the world. Many opted for London, but further afield there were also votes for Mumbai, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Soweto, Northern California and Japan.
Innovator 25 EMEA - Where should marketing and PR innovate When it comes to innovation, marketing and PR have the greatest opportunity to make an impact around planning and analytics in EMEA, say half of our innovators, reflecting the rapid strides made in these areas by the marketing communications sector.
Innovator 25 EMEA - Where do you see most innovation Right now, though most of our respondents (41%)  see the most innovation in terms of content & creative, ahead of both digital/ecommerce platforms and social media & online marketing.
Innovator 25 EMEA - How innovative are we compared to other disciplines In a welcome reversal of last year's findings, 41% think communications is ahead of other marketing disciplines in terms of innovation, while only 24% think the PR industry is lagging.
Innovator 25 EMEA - Who most influences a brand's marketing and PR When asked who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR, the CMO continues to reign supreme, with 56% of the vote, ahead of the CEO (31%).
Innovator 25 EMEA - Most innovative brands Which brands and agencies do they find most innovative? Some familiar names crop up, including Ikea, Airbnb, Spotify, Netflix, Paddy Power, Sonos and Facebook.

You can read all of the Innovator 25 Profiles, and explore their inspiration, advice and career learnings, using the navigation menu on this page.