Papri Dev | The Innovator 25 Asia Pacific 2018
Charting the future of public relations
Innovator 25 AP Papri Dev

Papri Dev

Regional MD - Client Strategy & Operations, Asia

Zeno Group
Singapore

“Embrace diversity in thinking — hire from outside the PR industry”

Papri Dev is responsible for ‘connecting the dots’, driving strategy and integration across Zeno’s five offices in Asia and connecting Asia to the firm’s broader Zeno global network. She took on the role after leading growth at Zeno India, overseeing its rise from 4 to 45 staffers in four years. She now oversees Zeno’s regional client and talent development, developing the ‘Tour De Zeno’ talent initiative which has since become a global effort. And Dev’s client work should not be overlooked either, helping Zeno net the WARC Asian Prize for Strategy. Dev also runs a strategic mentoring project for girls in India along with a customised training module for students focusing on creative discovery and creative leadership. 

How do you define innovation?
Metamorphosis. Being able to step back, look at the big picture and evolve. It’s about progress & purpose — meaningful messaging and action that actually impacts audiences.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
The work that I did with Levi's India with the Zeno India team where we took a simple product brief and turned it into a manifesto with a purpose to conceptualise ' #IShapeMyWorld - visual storytelling with a diverse set of women about overcoming the odds. To me it was innovative because we could use the opportunity to show how a PR brief could produce an innovative campaign - social led and have sales impact season after season.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. He has an interesting take on things and the work he does. His innovation is simple, liberating, purposeful so it appeals to me.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?
Go for a run or a walk, yoga or just write.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Embrace diversity in thinking — hire from outside the PR industry. Explore the new — invest in technology that enhances storytelling. Experiment with everything — allow younger people to take the lead and try new things. That is where innovation will come from.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
I would still be storytelling in some form or the other. An author or a broadcast news anchor.

Favorite book/movie/podcast/article that's not related to PR/marketing/business?
Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It directly connects to my passion of working with young women still studying or moving into the workforce and the challenge they face to live their dreams and the difference they could make to society and the country's economy if they chose/ could be mentored to keep their jobs.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
Post midnight. It’s quiet and allows me to read and think in peace.