Christel Quek | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2019

Christel Quek

Co-Founder, Chief Commercial Officer

BOLT Global

“Truthfully, failure has to be an option in art and in exploration, because it is risky and requires a leap of faith”

After building her career in social (including roles as head of content for Twitter across ASEAN and head of social business for Samsung Asia) Christel Quek cofounded Bolt, a content-powered mobile wallet. So far, Bolt has raised $12 million and, as COO, Quek has proved instrumental in striking partnerships with such companies as Hisense, International Cricket Council, Viki Rakuten, Al Jazeera, Digi, M-Pesa, Maxis and Zilliqa. Quek is also an advisor to Zilliqa, a next-generation high throughput blockchain platform, and Switcheo, the world’s first multi-chain decentralised exchange.

How do you define innovation?
Innovation is about being able to join up the dots of your varied experiences intuitively and in a perspective that others may not see. Truthfully, intuitive innovation is a force of nature. Your intuition is the culmination of experiences you've had, just like the back of a tapestry. On the surface, it might seem random, knotted, and frayed. Nothing might make sense. But it is only when you turn the back of the tapestry over that you can see the art of your work — the colours, the texture, and the patterns that make a tapestry a beauty. A strong intuition will transform your work into a masterpiece — an intuitively innovative one.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Spotify. It was clear, it was memorable, it was relevant.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?
ByteDance — letting the users shape the brand every single day through innovative experiences.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Having to adapt and grow constantly. Careers aren't a ladder to climb or a straight line. It's not even a jungle gym — it's more like a never ending F45 HIIT session with a merciless trainer. You either keep going and pace yourself or you will crash and burn.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation? 
Jeff Bezos of Amazon

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Go for a long swim. I normally swim at least 30 laps a day in the morning. On the days I don't, I can feel the rut in my bones!

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Don't be afraid to fail. Truthfully, failure has to be an option in art and in exploration, because it is risky and requires a leap of faith. In the greatest achievements of the world, no important endeavour that required innovation was done without risk.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Probably teaching. I have always been passionate about education.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
The latest book I'm reading is a thoroughly enjoyable one by Stephen Fry — ‘Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold’. Lots of interesting references to the present.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
Very early in the morning or very late into the evening — I get my best work done in either of the two extremes.