In today’s scenario, a leader is not somebody who resides and top of the chain anymore. A leader is one who is among its people, driving change and inspiring team by being on the ground. Traditional hierarchy fails to establish a culture of innovation. Stereotypes in traditional hierarchy are so strong, that it brings down the growth morale of the company. The generation that we are working with no longer believes in linear growth path. They demand more from life and they are ready to go extra mile to be able to reach there. If we have to adhere to their standards, then we have break down the traditional ladder structure and be inclusive by building bridges towards reaching the goals, where many can walk together with support from each other.
Tanay Kumar, CEO, Co-Founder, and Chief Creative Officer of Fractal lnk, is one of the leaders who believes in leading the team from the front and celebrating with team. He perceives that today’s youth brings a new and wiser perspective towards life and the way it should be led. As a leader, Tanay appreciates this shift of younger generations towards an enlightened life and strives to reform himself to influentially lead them.
In an interesting chat with Business APAC, he illuminates his journey as a CEO of the company.
Building Fortunes for Designers
Please tell us something about yourself and your journey so far?
I come from a small town of Jamshedpur, better known as the steel city. The growing years were absolutely wonderful in this city. I began my journey in design at BIT Mersa as I took up Architecture as a subject. Architecture subconsciously provided me with a solid understanding of design not only as a subject, but as a principle with which you approach life. After completing Architecture, I joined IDC (IIT Bombay) to pursue my love for communication design which became my choice of specialisation.
Currently, I spearhead Visual Design and Design Strategy at the Studio. My vision is to take digital design in India to the global level. I am mentoring many UX groups and design incubators around in the country and also took up the challenge to help establish need for design thinking in organisation in India. Some of the brands which I was involved in shaping up during my professional journey are Microsoft, F1, Disney, British Telecom, Indian Railways, Nokia, Barclays, Axis Bank, ICICI, Samsung, Godrej, and Hungama.
Creating Unmatched Quality
Why have you chosen this industry?
There was a strong urge of “creating” after my time at design schools, either in the form of real space or virtual space. Creating something that instils a feeling of delight in users mind comes with a challenge and a tremendous amount of gratification. I think probably this feeling of creation that becomes a part of people’s lives is unmatched, which is why design as a career became inevitable.
Deeply Embedded into Designing
Tell us about your company’s offerings?
Fractal Ink is deeply embedded into the business of designing customer experiences around products and services. Customer Experience or CX, is defined as experience an organization provides its customer at every touchpoint of interaction, throughout its customer’s journey and the lifecycle of the business relationship. We help our clients from defining and planning their entire CX roadmap, to designing and executing each intervention as a best-in-class experience.
Delivering Gold Standards
Please tell us about your team and what helps the company in delivering quality results?
At 120+ people strong, we have researchers, designers, developers, and content producers who provide services across the CX spectrum—Digital transformation consultancy, Digital Strategy, UX, UI, Brand consultancy, Front end Engineering, motion graphics, IOT, Voice Experience and more. Simple principles of learning and growth are applied to all walks of our operations. We simply allow and encourage people to go outside of their projects and do things which make them happy. We facilitate appreciation on small wins which has helped people look at themselves with confidence and they take on bigger challenges. Deep research, honed processes, a mind-set oriented towards innovation and honest hard work, combined with bursts of inspiration have enabled us to deliver compelling solutions consistently—some of which have become gold standards in industry.
Strong Connection with Teammates
With years of experience in the industry, please enlighten us with the evolution of leadership throughout the years.
The whole definition of a leader has transformed over the last decade. We have seen how traditional organizations have crumbled under the burden of maintaining hierarchy and how new leaders have disrupted the world with their ideas. When it comes to leadership style, I think I believe in strong connection with my colleagues and clients during their journey. You don’t work like a boss or a vendor, but like a partner with them. Empathy towards their habits, life and problems should be shown to be able to get them onto your side. Constant reminder towards the impact that the design brings helps elevate the confidence level and attaches meaning to the journeys we all are in.
Attributing Towards Success
As a leading company, what practices you follow to keep a tap on your company?
We practice zero tolerance for politics, driven from top down. This has helped the company build upon strong ethics of collaboration. No one person is attributed to success or failure of any task. This brings a sense of ownership for the brand which otherwise we see missing in many companies. When it comes to risk tolerance, I think we are fairly high on that. It comes from the philosophy of being non-judgemental about people, methods and the outcomes. Also since we are in the business of design, it expected out of us to take a fair amount of risk in our solutioning, which will help our clients to position themselves in a crowded market.
A Binge Viewer, Movie Buff and Curious Reader
Which books and/or movies/TV shows have big influences in your life?
As a CEO, I don’t get much time but whenever I’m free, I am a binge viewer, a movie buff and a curious reader. Talking TV shows which currently are on top of my mind are The great Hack, Explained, Abstract, and Black Mirror. When it comes to books, there are only kinds which grab my attention. Reading biographies of great disruptors such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Satya Nadella and other set of books that challenge the current are Thinking, Fast and Slow, Blink: The Power of Thinking without thinking, Tribes: We need you to lead us, Zero to One: Note on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future, Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, Lean UX: Designing Great Products With Agile Teams, and 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter).