Bannan Reveals The Secrets of her Success

28 October 2018

Banan Al-Yaquby is a Bahraini entrepreneur and founder of Quby Group, as well as its artistic director. Quby Group is a company in the field of developing brands and trademarks. She is also the executive president of the Yaquby Store, which is a family business working in sales and distribution. On October 13, 2018, she took part in the Tanween program at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran in a lecture entitled "Creativity in Using Public Feedback." In the lecture, she talked about the disruption caused by the phenomenon of crowdsourcing and using public feedback in the world of design and creativity, and the importance of adopting this pattern in professional work to bolster the abilities and productivity of the designer.
Al-Yaquby's grandfather established the Yaquby Store Company in 1949. She joined the company when she was 23 and was appointed the company's executive president after six months, after gaining experience from her work and achieving success in restructuring the company. Al-Yaquby attributes the success she has achieved in this post to specific policies she applied after receiving advice from Procter and Gamble regional president who told her she "must develop the employees in your company." Al-Yaquby says that this piece of advice stayed with her till today, and that it was the center of her focus when she started the Quby Group, which made the development and building of employees its philosophy. The company started with a team of only four people, and now has a team of 20 innovators considered the top in the region. She believes that her team reached this stage by developing the skills of the members as designers instead of just program executers and users. This was the start that disrupted the concept of the trade structure and creative work in the group.
Then Al-Yaquby said that one of the common questions she is continuously asked about is the quality of the local talents she works with, their dedication and commitment to work, which made her think about what means can enhance retaining these talents in the company. From this, Al-Yaquby started talking about the concept of crowdsourcing which relies on collecting the thoughts of users or the general public. Many companies use this system in the world of designing, such as Samsung which collaborated with fashion designer Alexander Wang to produce bags decorated with pictures taken by Samsung smartphone users, and PepsiCo which offered a million-dollar award for whoever created a commercially successful flavor for their Lays brand potato chips. Many other companies did the same thing, such as Lego, Coca-Cola and Oreo. In this structure, the user becomes a creative contributor in place of designing companies. There are many websites that offer crowdsourcing services such as Crowdspring and 99designs.
Al-Yaquby said that crowdsourcing has caused a disruption in the previous business structures. She believes that the answer to the above question lies there. She took a decision to form an organizational structure for Quby Group inspired by crowdsourcing, and found that applying this concept enhanced the designers' connection with the work in the group. What sets her team apart is that it has no artistic director, which means a lack of the traditional hierarchical structure of the people working in the group. Thus, everyone is responsible for themselves. The designers also exchange roles continuously in order to ensure the renewal of the creative spirit, giving the designers more freedom to work better. She stressed that this structure gave everyone a chance to learn from each other.
With that in mind, Al-Yaquby said that Quby Group seeks to be a pioneering organization in the field, which made her establish a platform for teamwork from within the company in a project named "Trunk 99". The project was officially launched in Saudi Design Week in 2018. It seeks to fulfill the dreams of designers and innovators from inside and outside the group by producing their ideas and turning them into a ready product. The idea-owner has a joint ownership with the group's designers. Al-Yaquby says that the joy of the designers in seeing their dreams become reality has a greater meaning than the mere financial reward. She concluded by saying that her next goal is to change the misconception in the region that creativity is the fruit of one person, explaining that it is in fact a group effort and a social activity capable of making change because group efforts toward a common goal always produces better results.