The Ultimate Synthesis of Design and Development
Who are the people behind Accenture? What drives Marissa Jaggan and inspires her on a daily basis? How has Mark Ruiter's life, career, ambitions and dreams developed over the years? What difficult choices has Javier Leonor made in his life? Through a series of portraits, we answer these questions and introduce you to our people: those who make Accenture the thriving company that it is.
Introducing Prakhar Mehrotra, Creative Technologist at MOBGEN | Accenture Interactive
While growing up, Prakhar Mehrotra lived in 18 different houses in three different countries. Owing to his dad’s career and tendency to get itchy feet, his family moved fairly often, from India to the US, and on to Singapore. The idea of ever working in the IT field, like his dad, horrified him. ‘Whatever I was going to do with my life, it wasn’t going to be that.’
‘As a young boy I wanted to be an astronaut. I was the nerdy kid who was fascinated with space and all things bigger than what’s on the ground. I’m naturally a very curious person – the sort who wants to know everything about anything. Basketball, swimming, karate, fencing, video game development, hacking – I tried out everything. The downside of being curious, though, is that it’s easy to get bored quite quickly. Once I have figured out how something works, I find myself itching to move on to something else.’
‘Up until the age of 16 or 17 – we were living in the US at the time – I was all about math, science and engineering. But I knew one thing: I wasn’t going to work in IT. My dad was in IT and when I visited him at his office, I was horrified by what I saw: all these guys sitting in cubicles typing code...it seemed like the most boring occupation on the planet. Taking an architecture course in high school was a turning point for me. It made me realize how much the idea of making something and being creative appealed to me.’
"I’m naturally a very curious person – the sort who wants to know everything about anything!"
Looking for balance
‘When I finished high school, I moved to New York to study. After bouncing back and forth between theoretical physics, design and architecture as potential study areas, I chose to enroll for a degree in Industrial Design at the Pratt Institute. Industrial Design felt like the perfect mix of all of the aforementioned disciplines. I chose Pratt because I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. I deliberately picked a school that focuses heavily on aesthetics, as I felt that I, as a technically oriented person, needed to hone my skills in this area. It was a professional balance across design and art that I was looking for at Pratt. Moreover, I was eager to be in New York – the center of the design world.’
‘Still, as much as I tried to fight against it, technology kept pulling me in and slowly won me over. Throughout my studies, I often combined design, technology and software development, and over time, I began to realize that technology could be fun and exciting. It didn’t have to equate to sitting in a cubicle typing away like a “code monkey”. It dawned on me that I didn’t have to choose between becoming either a designer or a developer; I could be both. In my role as Creative Technologist at MOBGEN | Accenture Interactive, I sit on the edge between these two worlds – it’s the ultimate synthesis of design and technology.’
(Photo by: Prakhar Mehrotra)
Where the fun happens
‘Sitting at the junction of disciplines is exactly where I want to be. After all, points of intersection are where the excitement lies and where the fun happens. I love my job for many reasons, and being able to operate at the meeting place of technology and design is definitely one of them. In practice it means that I’m not the person doing the research behind the technology, but I am the person who gets to take the latest technology and apply it to different design contexts.’
‘My job requires me to speak to both the “techies” and the designers, and to bring them together. This means I’m always at the forefront of what’s happening on the tech scene, and I’m well positioned to spot innovative new ways to address human needs. I love that there’s so much variety in my work – so many different projects and clients – and that this enables me to keep learning and doing new things.’
"Sitting at the junction of disciplines is exactly where I want to be."
An affinity for the Netherlands
‘I had never even been to Holland before I moved to Amsterdam. That said, ever since I was in college, I had a natural affinity for the country. Whenever I saw a trailblazing design that made use of new technology, it would always happen to come from the Netherlands. I remember stumbling upon the work of Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde and being completely in awe of him. I wasn’t nervous at all about whether I was going to like it in Holland – I somehow just knew I’d love living here. And I do.’
‘Another thing I love is street photography. When I traveled with my family as a kid, I was always the one carrying a camera around. I’ll admit, I initially found the actual equipment and technology more intriguing than the pictures I took. I used to have a DSLR camera – one of those big, bulky things that’s not easy to transport anywhere. In New York I bought a smaller camera (a Fujifilm X-T20) that I carried with me everywhere I went. I started taking photography more seriously, and began to apply what I learned at art school to create photos that told a story.’
(Photo by: Prakhar Mehrotra)
Actors engaging with the outside world
‘I fell in love with the process of composing a photograph. I found that it challenges my creative brain in a different way. Normally, when creating something, you have a vision in your mind that you bring to reality, but with street photography, it works the opposite way: the creativity happens outside of your head. In my pictures I always try to capture how people interact with their environment and how they, as actors, engage with the outside world. What do I do with the photos I take? Aside from posting a few on Instagram every now and then, absolutely nothing. I take photographs because I enjoy the process, not because I want 10,000 views.’
Prakhar Mehrotra (1992)
Studied: BA Industrial Design, Pratt Institute, New York (2014)
Started working at Accenture: October 2018
Relationship status: Dating Kat. We met in college seven years ago and she just moved to the Netherlands too (yay!)
Loves: Learning new things, books and random facts
Gets annoyed by: Bureaucracy
Favorite food: Lobhiya – an Indian black-eyed bean curry – but only when my mom makes it. Otherwise, I like Mexican food and ice cream too
On my nightstand: ‘Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania’ by Erik Larson, a bottle of water, my iPad and my phone charger
Listens to: I have a pretty eclectic taste in music. My favorite genre is metal, but it has to be good metal. I also like to listen to random international music, like that of Amara Touré, an African singer who sings Afro-Cuban jazz music
Last purchase: A new power bank
Would like to sit next to in the plane: While I am tempted to say Elon Musk or the Dalai Lama, I’d prefer to sit next to a random person who has a very obscure job at a big company, but in the background, is doing all the real work. For instance, I’d love to sit next to the mission control operator from NASA; I am sure I’d learn so much more from him or her than from someone famous
Life-changing event: Moving to Singapore from the US when I was 14. Breaking away from our US-centric bubble to immerse ourselves in a place with so many different cultures allowed me to develop a fresh perspective on the world. That changed and inspired me in so many ways
The best lesson life has taught me: Things are never as big of a deal as they seem to be. We all tend to think we’re very special, but really, we’re not
What I learned recently: A very practical insight – that real estate investors are looking to get creative with how they use their properties.
Most beautiful place on earth: Grand Teton National Park, just below Yellowstone National Park (US)
Hobbies/passions: Photography, new experiences, cooking and traveling
What nobody knows about me: As a kid I used to love the taste of dirt, and would often eat it
Life motto: Everyone is crazy; some people just don’t know it yet
- Would you be confident enough in your knowledge to advise a company to follow a full digital transformation? Maybe Consulting or Strategy could be a good fit for you.
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