Q&A with Ameen Haque, Founder of Storywallahs
Ameen Haque is the founder of Storywallahs, a company that helps leaders and organizations leverage the power of stories. Storytelling is an essential skill, no matter what you do. To help you build that capability at your organization, Ameen focuses on fostering a culture of innovation and inclusiveness. A Graduate in Business Administration, Ameen has studied Advertising Media Planning at MICA. Formerly a Vice President at Ogilvy & Mather, Ameen has over 20 years of experience in advertising, theatre and consulting. Aside from his love of stories, human behavior, team dynamics, and strategy, Ameen loves climbing hills and playing table tennis.
Q: How did you find design?
A. Find it? It was always there within me. Every child is born a designer, but prescriptive education systems take this instinct away from us. The only thing I did was not allow education to ruin it for me. I did not go to a design school to learn design, I learned by observing good design in the world. My first serious engagement with design was when I joined the advertising industry as a communications strategist.
Q: Describe your role.
A. Every day I help people and organisations become better at telling stories about themselves, their products, services and solutions.
Q: How do you and your colleagues generate creative ideas?
A. Long walks, long talks, deeply listening to consumers and putting ourselves in the customers’ shoes.
Q: How do you encourage collaboration between teams?
A. Build diverse teams, create shared goals, and use story glue to bond them together.
Q: What advice do you have for leaders attempting to create an innovative workspace?
A. Build tolerance for failure. No one innovates without failing.
Q: How do you see design evolving over the next years?
A. More digital, more video, and a world that is controlled by voice and artificial intelligence.
Q: Tell us about your talk/workshop.
A. I believe great stories happen to those who tell them. And no matter what business you are in, you are in the storytelling business. In my workshop, I will help the audience leverage the power of stories to talk about what they do and create.
Q: What types of Agile processes have you implemented before?
A. I help build innovation culture within organisations. At speed.
Q: What is your idea of an Agile mindset in the context of UX Design?
A. A willingness to let go, to not fear failure, to take risks, and to collaborate.
Q: How have you evolved the Agile process in your department? How does it impact your engagement with development teams?
A. Communicate goals clearly, give the freedom to take risks, learn and fail, ensure failure stories go viral so others can learn from your mistakes, and prioritize action.
Q: How can one utilize the Design Thinking approach in an Agile environment?
A. Celebrate ‘Design Doing’ over ‘Design Thinking’. Design lies in doing.
Q: What is the hardest part of being a leader?
A. It’s hard to a constantly strive for more. And to start from scratch and learn everything all over again. Every day. Every week. Every Month. Every year. The hardest parts are also the most gratifying.
Q: What is your favorite part?
A. Seeing people shine when they tell a good story.
Q: What advice do you have for young people?
A. Work hard. Really hard. Few people get it easy.