Ajaz Ahmed is the CEO of AKQA, the ideas and innovation company he founded aged 21.

To contact Ajaz please email aa@akqa.com

In addition to his AKQA Group CEO responsibilities, Ajaz is a Trustee on the charitable boards of:

  • Mission 44 founded by Sir Lewis Hamilton: empowering young people from underserved groups to succeed.

  • Elton John AIDS Foundation founded by Sir Elton John and David Furnish: fund frontline partners to prevent infections, fight stigma and provide treatment.

  • Virgin Unite founded by Sir Richard Branson and Jean Oelwang: unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world.

Prior to his current trusteeships Ajaz served on the board of the Design Museum, Prism The Gift Fund, Lumos, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Mental Health Innovations and The Prince’s Trust.

The Ajaz.org fellowship (launched in August 2021) provides grants to charitable organisations. It also offers advice on leadership and governance.

Ajaz received an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration from the University of Bath in December 2018, conferred by HRH The Earl of Wessex. Ajaz received an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes University, England in 2002. Ajaz received an MBE in the June 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours for Services to Media.

Below is a collection of Ajaz’s thoughts, writing and interviews. All proceeds from Ajaz’s books, writing and public speaking are donated to causes voted for by AKQA employees.

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A collection of essays



Aa Limitless- books





Interview May 2024

Changing Course

The Lens - Business in the community logo-min
Interview December 2023

Designing responsible business with imagination

Global logo-min
Interview November 2023

Is AI healing or destructive?

Fearless Creative Leadership logo-min
Interview August 2023

The Decent Leader

Interview February 2023

Executives on the move

Monocle logo-min
Interview January 2023

The Entrepreneurs

Master of scale logo-min
Interview July 2022

Drive full-speed at opportunity

Monocle logo-min
Interview June 2017

The Entrepreneurs

Apple logo-min
Panel May 2014

Creativity in Conversation: Youthful Thinking

Mishcon de Reya logo-min
Interview August 2013

The AKQA Story


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City A.M.

How a skip of stationery inspired an advertising empire

Ambition A.M. meets Ajaz Ahmed to learn how his never-ending quest for success led him to his globally recognised digital design agency AKQA.

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Financial Times

AI and big data streamline the art of charitable giving

Donors’ funds can be used more efficiently and their impact measured when philanthropic bodies adopt new technology.

The Sunday Times 1000x653
The Sunday Times

Why many of the best chief executives are Indian

From family values to education and entrepreneurial spirit, India offers lessons from which Britain could learn.

The Article

75 years of reinvention

On the 75th anniversary of the Commonwealth, it is imperative that we reassess its true value—an asset often overlooked amidst the political turmoil of recent years.

The Times

Entrepreneurship schools could inspire

The alchemy of ambition has the power to enrich the lives of employees, making a positive difference to society, and evoke national pride.

Ajaz page headshot
Campaign Live

Listening, journalling and meditation

AKQA’s founder and chief executive writes about several techniques that have given his brain a workout.


AKQA’s founder honoured with 2022 Spear’s Impact Award

Ajaz Ahmed has been honoured with the Spear’s 2022 Impact Award recognising the impact of his charitable fellowship ajaz.org.

Our businesses have been built by industrious refugees
City A.M.

Our businesses have been built by industrious refugees

One hundred and forty years ago, a refugee fled eastern Europe. After meeting Thomas Spencer, the pair set up M&S.

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Semi Permanent

Serendipity and Learning

An entrepreneurial journey with AKQA’s founder.

Campaign Middle East

Innovation is simplification

An extract of Ajaz Ahmed’s book DEFEAT, a collaboration with artist Christian Watson.

City A.M.
City A.M.

Imagination must shape all our businesses

When we think about the fuel that will power our economic growth, our creative flair will be absolutely crucial.

AA Shots

Leadership and what matters

We’re about pushing the limits and explorations, counterbalanced with good engineering and execution.


Lessons in Limitless

The relentless drive towards the future.

Fast Company

Consumers Respond to Timeless Values

Timeless values applied via new technology can democratize markets and extend across goods, services and experiences.

The Guardian

Bridging the Gap between Art and Business

Successful collaborations between brands and artists are possible, once outdated preconceptions are overcome.

The Guardian

Bravery, Creativity, Courage and Resilience

All aspiring entrepreneurs should read Rudyard Kipling's 'If' – every word of advice in it is for the ages.

The Guardian

Resisting Ease is the Path to Digital Excellence

High achievement comes from persistence, not convenience, as exemplified in Ang Lee's use of 3D in Life of Pi.

The Guardian

Its Never too Late to Pivot

Brands that champion what really matters to people will always have a future – but ditching any emotional attachment is the first step to achieving revival.

The Guardian

An Operating System For Your Life

Put technology to work for people and you're already taking steps towards that inspirational aspiration.

The Guardian

Young Entrepreneurs can Build a Better Future

There is opportunity to be had in difficult times when the old ideas are malfunctioning and people are more open to change.

The Guardian

Radically Simple Design Always Wins

The best digital innovations are ones that are simple and easy to use and keep your audience in mind.


A public announcement: advertising is over

Digital has changed things even more drastically. The phone is the passport to everything advertising was designed to obscure.

The Guardian

The interface is the Brand

Whether we are gathered around a campfire, a cathode ray tube or an iPad, it's the story that's being shared that matters.

The Guardian

The End is Nigh for Identikit Branding

It has never been easier for people to scan past or switch over, so to persist with identikit advertising campaigns is ridiculous.


The Steve Jobs MBA

Be zen, obsess over details, relentlessly improve everything and other lessons from Steve Jobs.


Vogue Business
Interview March 2023

Explaining luxury’s new brand identifiers

Interview February 2023

How I became an agency founder

Interview February 2023

How do leaders build trust?

Virgin Group-Logo
Interview October 2022

Five ways to build a thriving team

Management Today-02
Interview July 2022

Business is now who cares wins

Creative Review
Interview June 2022

How CEOs make an agency creative

The Sunday Times 1000x653
Interview May 2022

Enterprising teenager to advertising executive

Interview August 2021

The early days and perspectives on the future

Interview May 2021

New-style creativity

The Drum logo
Interview July 2018

Use your work as an expression of your values

Creative Entrepreneurs
Interview October 2017

Ajaz Ahmed at the Design Museum

Interview April 2017

Attaining velocity in the age of disruption

FWA logo
Interview April 2017

Explore new solutions

Digiday logo
Interview March 2017

It’s important to embrace disruption

Interview March 2014

How leaders get top-down success

Interview October 2014

We exist to create the future for our clients

The Drum logo
Interview April 2014

What makes a leader