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:

  • Elton John AIDS Foundation: 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.

Ajaz also serves on the WPP Executive Committee.

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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Books

velocity

Velocity

Aa Limitless- books

Limitless

Defeat-Ajaz

Defeat

Articles

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.

Spears-Ajaz-ASV22942
AKQA

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.

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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
Shots

Leadership and what matters

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

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Forbes

Lessons in Limitless

The relentless drive towards the future.

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Fast Company

Consumers Respond to Timeless Values

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

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The Guardian

Bridging the Gap between Art and Business

Successful collaborations between brands and artists are possible, once outdated preconceptions are overcome.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Guardian

An Operating System For Your Life

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

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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.

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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.

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Wired

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.

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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.

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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.

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Wired

The Steve Jobs MBA

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

AKQA Anual Report 2021
WPP

AKQA Anual Report 2021

2021 was a year of success and momentum, thanks to our extraordinary people, agencies, clients and partners.

WPP 2020
WPP

AKQA Annual Report 2020

The 2020 Annual Report is inspired by our people who, despite the many challenges of Covid-19, have been totally committed to supporting our clients and looking after each other.

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WPP

AKQA Annual Report 2019

The savings will allow us to increase investment in the areas that will drive top-line growth in the future: creativity, technology and talent.

WPP Annual Report 2018 Installation Investor Day
WPP

AKQA Annual Report 2018

WPP has substantial assets, the most important of which is our people. As a talent business we need to transform at the right pace, and bring our people with us.

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WPP

AKQA Annual Report 2017

As a worldwide team, we have the scale, flexibility and speed to deploy those skills where and when they are most needed.

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WPP

AKQA Annual Report 2016

In a world where digital is everywhere, AKQA’s passion is a considered and intelligent experience at every connection.

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WPP

AKQA Annual Report 2015

In 2015, AKQA’s collaboration with our clients delivered a continuous stream of imaginative, breathtaking work.

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WPP

AKQA Annual Report 2014

At AKQA we believe in the imaginative application of art and science to create beautiful ideas, products and services.

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WPP

AKQA Annual Report 2013

AKQA exists for two reasons: to help create the future for our clients; and to inspire excellent leadership from our people.

Interviews

Monocle.001
Interview January 2023

The Entrepreneurs

Virgin Group-Logo
Interview October 2022

Five ways to build a thriving team

Masters of Scale Card-01
Interview July 2022

Drive full-speed at opportunity

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

Ajaz-Pimento
Interview August 2021

The early days and perspectives on the future

MAA-Ajaz
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

Monocle.001
Interview June 2017

The Entrepreneurs

Aa-Learnerby
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

Raconteur
Interview March 2014

How leaders get top-down success

Aa-EconomicTimes
Interview October 2014

We exist to create the future for our clients

Apple
Panel May 2014

Creativity in Conversation: Youthful Thinking

The Drum logo
Interview April 2014

What makes a leader

Mishcon de Reya
Interview August 2013

The AKQA Story

Adobe
Interview September 2012

The shift to mobile

Google logo
Interview April 2012

Executive Insight