Farzana Baduel | Innovator 25 EMEA 2022

Farzana Baduel

Curzon PR


“Analyse disruption and shifts in other professional services and industries, as innovation is often taking something from one area and applying it to another area – with a twist."

Former vice-chair of business relations for the UK Conservative Party Farzana Baduel co-founded Curzon PR in 2009 alongside James Ollerenshaw after the two met at the Institute of Directors. The agency has grown since then to become a globally focused consultancy specialising in strategy at the nexus of developed and growth markets, and is a member of the Department for International Trade’s UK Investment Support Directory, approved by the UK government to help overseas businesses set up and expand in the UK.  

Baduel herself has scooped accolades including Businesswoman of the Year at the Muslim Awards, Entrepreneur of the Year at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards and Media Professional of the Year at the AMA Awards. She lectures globally, with events for KPMG, The Guardian, the University of Oxford and the House of Commons on her CV.  

A firm believer in following her own curiosity and enthusiasm, Baduel is Resident PR expert and ambassador for the Oxford Foundry, the University of Oxford’s entrepreneurship centre, and a trustee for the British Asian Trust.  
How do you define innovation?
Thinking differently and being brave to do things in a different way.

What is the most innovative PR or marketing initiative you've seen over the past 12 months?
Gender Pay Gap Bot.

In your opinion, which brands and/or agencies are most innovative in their approach to PR and marketing?

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
Following a damning report by Chatham House on the PR industry as an enabler of the Kleptocracy plaguing society - I proposed they pivot from shaming our industry to collaborating with them and arranging a roundtable to work constructively together with the development of tool kits, briefings, webinars as part of a wider awareness campaign.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Elon Musk.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Forest bathing.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Analyse disruption and shifts in other professional services and industries as innovation is often taking something from one area and applying it to another area with a twist.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett

How would you like to see work culture, and the role of the office, evolve?
Less focus on time inputs and more focus on the value of outputs

How can the PR and communications industry harness innovation to make more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion?
Create bespoke ways of working for teams - some prefer a four day week due to caring responsibilities, others prefer fully remote as they are introverts by nature and like working at home, and others want to be in the office five days a week as they learn best through osmosis and being in an office. One size does not fit all.