Fahrenheit 212 has the best and brightest innovators in the world. We hail from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and industries, but are connected by a shared passion to make things better, and to make better things. Voices of Fahrenheit is a series that shares perspectives from the individuals behind the innovations at Fahrenheit 212 to give you a glimpse into their days and what makes them tick.
This week, we interview Viresh Chopra, Head of Design and Product at Fahrenheit 212.
What do you do at Fahrenheit 212?
I am the Head of Design and Product, so I am in charge of all of our internal and external design projects. I have a Global multidisciplinary team of designers and we work closely with the Idea Development and Strategy departments.
Tell us about how you got into innovation and your journey to Fahrenheit 212.
I was born and raised in Wembley, UK, (the Saint-Tropez of England). When I was 11 years old, I decided that Wembley Stadium needed a retractable roof and made a prototype with paper and matchsticks. I actually sent it to the Architects. I got into the local newspaper and did a big show and tell at school. That’s when I realized that it might be possible to make a living out of this and it’s where my genesis started.
After that I worked in the UK as a Graphic Designer and had the opportunity to move to America when I was 26. I worked at all types of design firms, but in 2010 I started at Fahrenheit 212 (the first time around) and worked my way up to Head of Design. I left and went into the start-up world where I helped create Quirky, an invention platform that launched 3 consumer products a week. Ten years later I am back here, trying to infuse some of that start-up experience into Fahrenheit 212.
What is the best part of your role?
At this stage of my career, it is being able to help my team. I have a really talented team here and I want to make sure they succeed and get their work out into the real world. If they succeed, then clients do as well and everyone wins.
Where do you feel most creative?
To be honest, it’s kind of corny, but I am pretty creative throughout the day, from beginning to end. I will go to sleep thinking about problems and solve them in my sleep. I never really feel a distinction between work and what I do.
Do you have any rituals for the innovation process?
I sketch and doodle a lot. When I am out, I take photos and notes on things I see that will be helpful on other projects. I embrace technology, but would much rather find inspiration in a library or on the streets than sitting at my desk and trawling through Pinterest.
Where do you call home?
That’s a hard one. I’ve been here almost as long as I was in England. I am definitely a Londoner, but when I go back there, I sometimes feel like a tourist. So probably Brooklyn.
What do you never leave home without?
I mean obvious stuff, like keys and wallet. But I do listen to a ton of music and I read a lot. So probably a book. I try to use my commute time wisely and read as much as I can.
What is the first thing you do every morning? The last thing at the end of every day?
First thing, I make my bed, then I put the kettle on, and brush my teeth. And before bed I watch a movie from 10-12 every night. I am a big film fan so I have been doing that forever.
What is your favorite innovation from the last decade?
I would say driverless cars. I like that it's finally happening, but I also understand that it’s going to disrupt thousands of people’s lives and jobs.
What product, service, or industry do you think is most ripe for innovation?
Governments. Most of them are completely broken.
What are some of your interests outside of innovation?
I am really into the arts; music, film, literature (typical designer stuff). I have a giant record collection, I’ve got every rap album from the early 80’s to the early 2000’s. I have 4,000 albums on vinyl and have been lucky enough to have worked in the industry.
What is your go-to reading source?
I still read physical books. I don’t read on my phone or tablet. I was obsessed with George Orwell, so I redesigned some of his covers when I was still at University. I sent them to Penguin Publishers and got my first job there. Similar to the Wembley story I prototyped an idea (for free) sent it to a company and got a favourable result. I would encourage anybody starting out to take risks like this.
What is your greatest life hack?
I make lists. I give myself challenges. I put goals down, and if I get them all done I give myself a reward. I incentivise myself which motivates me to get a lot done.
What is your must-read book?
I would say read Animal Farm by George Orwell. It’s a very short book and very poignant. It’s a simple book to read and understand, it’s entertaining. It makes a lot of sense now when you read it.
What is your favorite app?
Probably Tidal, a music streaming app that no one seems to have.
What is your favorite quotation?
“In comic books the person on the left always speaks first” -- George Carlin