Hemant Gaule | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2023

Hemant Gaule

School of COmmunications & REputation (SCoRe)


Nothing does more injustice to the quest for DEI than DEI initiatives which are not authentic.

As the Dean of the School of Communications & Reputation, an institution built by collective efforts of the Indian PR business, Hemant Gaule’s work is crucial to the industry’s long-term progress in the country. The last 12 months, specifically, were a period of correction for the PR business as it reestablished its vision and  expectations from PR talent. During this period, Gaule’s efforts were crucial in quickly responding to the need of the profession, and creating mentorship avenues and  learning opportunities for students and young professionals. Across Gen Z, postgraduate students and new undergraduates, Gaule has engaged with more than 600 young Indians on careers in PR. Among a substantial number of these students, a survey conducted revealed a marked increase in intent of joining PR as a career. A podcast focused on bridging the divide between industry and students has been highly successful, while more than two dozen youngsters have been trained to become entry level talent for PR consultancies. In addition, Gaule’s work has resulted in more than 150 first year PR associates  recruited from communications institutions, and over 1000 professionals trained in AI applications in PR.

What is the most innovative PR or marketing initiative you've seen over the past 12 months?
Missing by Mobile Premier League (MPL)

In your opinion, which brands and/or agencies are most innovative in their approach to PR and marketing?
Godrej Industries in India has relentlessly pursued innovative ways of defining and engaging their stakeholders. It has been driven by the courage to make mistakes and the pursuit of doing whatever it takes to perfecting their brand's ethos.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider to be innovative.
I consider the period when I decided to start a school of PR. My co-founder, Amith Prabhu and I were eager to solve one of the toughest problems in PR in India - that of Talent; a problem that very few have taken a shot at, and even fewer so, successfully. We decided that with the right intent and techniques of bringing the PR business together, we could converge towards its solutions.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Amith Prabhu, Founding Dean, School of Communications & Reputation

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
I follow two techniques to get out of the creativity rut: 1. Talking to diverse groups of people, that represent a spectrum of demographics and experiences. It's a resource intensive exercise but can open our eyes to perspectives which may be in our blindspots. 2. I start thinking ideas, strike down the first 20, and start over. This forces one to go outside the box, and research and learn more about the problem that I am trying to solve.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Avoid seeking innovation for the sake of it. The worth of innovation lies in the impact, real impact which it can create.

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

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has provided inspiration over the past year?
Book - 48 Laws of Power

How can the PR and communications industry harness innovation to make more progress on diversity, equity and inclusion?
Nothing does more injustice to the quest for DEI than DEI initiatives which are not authentic. The PR profession should discourage the pursuit for DEI simply to check an an item on a list (or simply for regulatory fulfillment, for that matter), and should encourage brands to define what DEI means for them, empower organisations to thrive towards it in an authentic way.