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Idealog's Most Creative: Parrot Analytics' Dil Khosa talks creativity

Parrot Analytics operations manager Dil Khosa was one of the People's Choice winners for the digital category in Idealog and Accenture's Most Creative People. She aims to change the way television and entertainment is measured, has a wide variety of skills and that means she’s been involved in pretty much everything across the fast-growing company. A voice for the importance of data, she boldly says: “The sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians.” Here, she discusses creativity, innovation and taking risks.

What does creativity mean to you?

I think creativity is about approaching or solving a problem differently. Thinking outside of the box. It's where new and fresh ideas are born.

What do you think it is about your nature/habits/interests that makes you creative?

I consume a lot of diverse content – from art to science – I think the contrast and complementary aspects of these different fields in life are exciting and where new opportunities / ideas lie.

What first drew you to your chosen field?

From biotech to TV data? I think that the world is changing at a faster rate than we are adapting. So what draws me to choose fields of careers is really dependent on what’s happening in today’s world e.g. where is technology heading? Where can industries intersect? How are industries impacted by the ever-growing amount of digital data available?  

What was your upbringing like, and how do you think that led you to where you are today?

Growing up in Malaysia (prior to immigrating to New Zealand), we were exposed to a multicultural environment – I think that was key in shaping my outlook in life – as I rubbed shoulders with different races and became aware of different cultures and races/ ethnicities. I saw first-hand the benefit of such diversity – this still sticks with me today - ensuring that we continue to encourage and diversity in the world. My upbringing also involved a childhood of working / studying super hard! I bring this to my work ethic till today.

Where do your best ideas come from?

Reading – people around me – world events.

What does inspiration look like for you?

Inspiration to me is someone who has a positive outlook, strength and has gone against all odds to achieve amazing things in today’s world.  I am mostly inspired by the people around me.

I think creativity is about approaching or solving a problem differently. Thinking outside of the box. It's where new and fresh ideas are born.

If there were a secret to success, what would it be?

Working super hard, being open to learning your entire life, adapting to an ever-changing world, being nice to everyone and being a good human being, along the way.

Do you work a lot? Do you have an obsessive part to your personality?

Yes – no for the latter part of the question, I don’t think so, however my siblings might disagree!

What’s the secret to resilience?  

Having a strong locus of control. Having the ability to choose your energy, attitude, behaviour in adversity is key – learned this the hard way!

What have been some of the highlights of your career?

The highlights of my career are very much tied to the achievements we have made with Parrot Analytics – and being able to work with world-class team members every day! Best learning experience one could ask for.

What do you think New Zealand is like for creativity? Is there something about ‘Kiwiness’ that helps or hinders?

I think being in NZ absolutely helps! The environment here is one that is very encouraging to new ideas and creativity – perhaps it’s a function of the fact that we have to be – being so far away from the rest of the world. Our community is also very supportive for innovative start-ups.

What would be the advice you’d give someone who wants to turn their creative passion into a full-time gig?

I would totally encourage it – I think we need more entrepreneurs and everyone has the potential. It would take a lot of deep thinking, calculated risk taking and planning of course – but today and in New Zealand, you can have all access to the right resources you need to make this jump if you choose to do so.

What have been the biggest lessons you’ve learned?

Hiring for culture fit and holding the team accountable to our shared values is something is can make or break a business – so that would be something I think I would take away as one of the biggest lessons.

Where to next? Do you have a goal you’re working towards?

Right now, we are pretty focused on working hard to take Parrot Analytics to the next level and achieving our quarterly goals as a team – we truly want to be the best in the world in what we do, and that doesn’t come easy.