Featured on Untwine.Me: Founder and Principal UnBoxer of UnBox Collective, Nizar Swailem
Security. Globalisation. Standardization. Economy of scale. Corporate governance. These are just some of the words that have impacted our world today. That have allowed mediocrity to thrive. To be recognized and rewarded even.
Personally, I’ve been considered as an a**hole by my bosses throughout my career. Anyone that decides to reach out to my past employers will get an instant validation of that. This was not a reflection of my behaviour or attitude, but rather a testimony to a set of beliefs that guided me. And yes, it varied significantly from theirs. And whilst it made me difficult to work with, my inability to ‘play by the rules’ did not come in the way of success.
I have managed to acquire and and sustain businesses for my agencies. Established very healthy and long-term relationships with my clients. Maintained 10 consecutive years of regional and international awards. Even when my loyalty was not given to anyone. And my opposing words were heard by everyone. In the end, I was told to my face that I was indeed an a**hole. But that I was an a**hole that they preferred to have on their side than anyone else’s.
It is when I began to hear things like: “You take your job too seriously.”, “Just let this one go.”, “You’re an idealist, and that will get you nowhere.”. That’s when I began to withdraw from the multinationals. When CEOs and MDs become just employees, and no longer leaders. When my actions and decisions lost me stock and gratuity, landing me in debt instead. I even got fired twice for refusing to be ‘a good little boy’. But none of that mattered.
I had faith. A belief in something I could not place at the time. That there was a better way to get things done in our industry. A different way. A way that could have a positive impact on the industries of our clients as well. In 2008, while I was still working for one of the multinationals, a new copywriter was employed by the agency. Sally Amirza had just left her career in Aerospace and joined the communication industry. Perhaps I should’ve recognized the impact of this at the time. But I didn’t.
It was almost a decade later that I called her to tell her that I finally understood what struck me at that time. That the probability of innovation when cross-industry knowledge took place was the key. A fact that she had demonstrated so well during her career, and became reputable for. UnBox Collective is just that. It’s an ecosystem. A collective of consultants. A unique business model. Perhaps even a think tank. An entity that hunts for like-minded individuals driven by a desire to challenge the status quo. An initiative that enacts cross-industry expertise to enable innovation. From every sector and from the world over.
I refer to myself as an agent of change. In Academia. Marketing Communication. Leadership. And whatever else I can positively contribute to. It is why I went rogue. Why I teach pro-bono. Why I dedicate time to different NGOs from around the world. This collective is the product of 20 years of development. Empowered by a diversity of personal experience. Influenced by Sally and others along the way. And culminates all my passions into one entity that will finally allow me to be.
UnBox Collective is part of a larger picture. There are other sister companies that have also been formed to expand this matrix of change. A Publishing House, a Sound & Music Production Company, and a Trading entity as well. Powered by a number of online communities that are constantly on the hunt for idea makers of all kinds. The ultimate goal is to pursue and act on alternative methods. Methods that can bring about positive change in every way possible. And to leave no rock unturned.
We may not become rich. Or may not be written about. Talked about. Even acknowledged by our peers. And if so, fu*k it.
All we want is to be catalyst for innovation. To empower the integration of culture into communication. And to support startups of all sizes across sectors and industries. Even if it’s just behind the scenes.
This is our manifesto in a way. And we welcome anyone that can contribute as UnBoxers to join us. The on-boarding process is not simple, nor easy. But it’s worth the hassle if you’re serious about making a change. Or at the very least, to try.
Follow Unbox Collective on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/unboxcollective/
Connect with Nizar: https://twitter.com/nizarswailem