When we’re young most of us have dreams of what we’d like to be when we grow up—a policeman, a football player or maybe even an astronaut. Kreingkrai Kanjanapokin, the founder and CEO of Index Creative Village, one of Thailand’s leading event agencies, was different: the only thing he knew for certain was what he didn’t want to be. “I knew I did not want to become a doctor,” he laughs. “My father was a doctor.”
Kreingkrai has always been the creative sort. He also likes to challenge himself by stepping out of his comfort zone, as he did when he took a bachelor’s degree in political science at Chiang Mai University. After this he worked at a TV production company as a creative producer, where his passion and desire to create was reinforced.
“I started Index Creative Village simply because I knew this was what I wanted to do in life. And at that time there was no such company in Thailand,” he says. Twentyseven years on and Index Creative Village is still flourishing. Never Stop Creating is the company’s slogan and, says Kreingkrai, it is this drive to innovate that is key to the company’s success. “It’s not easy for a business like this to last,” he says. “I truly believe we have because we constantly try to innovate and create new things while adapting to changing trends.”
His favourite part of the job—and what keeps him motivated—is when he and his team get together to work on a new project. Having said this, running a company with 161 employees is no piece of cake. “The hardest part for me is making creative people understand business,” he says. “Many people love to create but don’t necessarily understand the business and it is up to me to help them find the right balance between the two.” Despite these challenges, the company has grown exponentially, with branches in Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Kreingkrai thrives on being busy but admits that juggling his work, family and friends can be tricky. “The problem is the unpredictability in my line of work,” he says. “Meetings can pop up at any moment, things get cancelled and I travel a lot for work, probably four times a month.”
Work aside, Kreingkrai plays the piano, the drums and—his favourite—the bass guitar. He also enjoys composing his own songs, although he hasn’t had much time for any of that lately. A keen traveller, he also enjoys discovering new places. “Wherever I go, I love to observe people and the local way of life,” he says. He also has a fondness for Disneyland. “It’s my favourite place,” he says with a laugh. “From the theme park and hotel down to the way they conduct business and small details like the souvenirs, the world they have created and the level of creativity truly amazes me.”
Understanding the importance of education, Kreingkrai began to lecture at several universities in Thailand about 15 years ago. He intended to share his passion but also to play his part in turning event marketing into a proper academic discipline. “The first university I lectured at was Bangkok University,” he recalls.
With almost 30 years of experience in the field, it’s been an exhilarating journey for the passionate businessman and he is not ready to retire any time soon. “Don’t focus on the money,” he advises when asked to give his tips to those just starting out. “Do what you’re passionate about and you will never get bored,” he says. “This is the best way to be successful in what you do. When success comes, the money will follow.”