Omran creating Creative Design League in Oman
To further the goal of creating world-class destinations, Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) has announced the Creative Design League, comprising up-and-coming young Omani architects and designers. The initiative is looking to recruit up to 20 members, all of who will be employed by Omran with stand-out candidates given the opportunity to undertake a summer course at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD).
The formation of the league, with its vision to become the leading independent forum for architecture, design and urban planning in the Sultanate, is a necessary step in Omran’s task of creating quality destinations and urban centres that will build capacity and capability within the tourism sector. The league will be primarily involved in the design of the Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront Project in Muscat and the Madinat Al Irfan Urban Centre, in addition to being embedded with the various local and international architecture, landscape and interior-design companies contracted by Omran.
Commenting on the initiative, Eng Ammar Al Kharusi said: “Omran is now inviting talented candidates to be part of the Oman Design League. The league will promote excellence in architecture, design and urbanism, and foster debate about the critical design and urban planning issues of our time. The League will offer wonderful opportunities to young architects, engineers, landscape and interior designers to work on some of the largest and most iconic developments underway in the Sultanate.
"Our recruits will have the chance to work on projects such as the Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront Project, a ground-breaking development in and of itself that will change the way people think about urban living. Upon completion, the destination will offer one of the regions most authentic and historic waterfront promenades, while promoting the beauty and vibrancy of the historic century’s old Muttrah harbour. The project will improve the quality of life for our citizens, residents and guests, promote our culture and will help to generate thousands of sustainable job opportunities mainly within the region of Muttrah.”
“Having completed a year with Omran and with a commitment to remain working with the organization for a further 3 years, selected successful candidates will be sent to the six-week summer Career Discovery program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. At Omran we believe our most valuable resource is our people and we are firmly committed to nurturing talent within Oman. Helping to build the skills of promising designers in addition to providing exciting opportunities will not only benefit the individual and our Company, but also the nation as a whole in the years to come."
Omran adheres to the policy of Local Investment Development (LDI) to ensure that the company’s procurement and supply-chain processes all favour local businesses and suppliers. In line with this policy, the company also announced that all future procurement and appointment of international design companies for Omran projects will require partnership with a local designers in Oman. Ideally encouraging conducting at least 50 percent of the design drawings, specifications and documents to be produced in Oman.
Applications for the Oman Design League can register online at omran.om or send their portfolio to [email protected]. Portfolio should include concept ideas for the Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront Project and Madinat Al Irfan. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of both local and international architecture and design specialists.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.