In our regular series, our Community Manager Daisy interviews new arrivals at Sussex Innovation about their business, why they joined, and their plans for growth. Today she chats with Matthew Bellringer from Meaningbit.
So what have you been up to then?
I can't entirely talk about it yet... the area I'm looking at is around mental health and organisational change in innovation. There are some exciting approaches that we've come across that we're looking at developing. So for the time being I'm still going round to talks, doing some stuff for the BCS (The Chartered Institute for IT), I'm going to be doing some innovation workshops for various people and will see how that works out.
Let's go back a step then, could you tell me a bit about Meaningbit?
Meaningbit is really my way of figuring out how to make work better and make lives better as well, because work is a huge part of our life. I think one of the really interesting things working in this space, working with start-ups and purpose driven people, purpose driven entrepreneurs, [it] makes you realise that people can get a huge amount from work but very few people actually do. [I'm] trying to work out why that is and close that gap a bit for people that work in larger organisations. As organisations scale, they seem to always reach these problems where [they start to get] compromised. Not everyone can just jack in a comfy day job... so it's really about how we can help other people and other organisations align themselves and orientate around more exciting and also more innovative things, solving some of the really big problems that we have.
Are there any key things that would improve everyone's working day?
One of the interesting things is when you work with the leadership team and you work with the key people within the organisation you start to shift the culture of the organisation and when you do that you can help everyone. So, focussing on the key people to get things moving, then providing tools for everyone to align themselves, that's the intention. It isn't meaningful if you don't change the whole organisation, it won't stick. You want to get this positivity in the DNA of the place.
What have been the biggest challenges so far?
It's been figuring out what on earth I was doing!
It sounds like you're getting there now...
I'm just seeing what comes and letting go of the certainty of what's going to happen. [I'm] being open to everything and being open to working with people and having conversations all the time. For example, I was at a great talk by the BCS last night about VR for the heritage industry, I have nothing to do with the heritage industry, but it was a really interesting conversation. We had a follow up chat and are going to look into potential uses for VR and AR in service of what I'm looking at. I'm getting used to riding the wave...but that's a personal journey as well, it's interesting how much personal change has been involved in the whole start-up thing.
Your biggest success so far?
Actually being able to commit and being able to say "Yep I'm all in on this". Before that happened, it wasn't going to happen.
Why did you decide to join Sussex Innovation?
It seemed like a really interesting place with people doing interesting work. As I've come to understand, it's all about those relationships. It's felt a little bit weird to be in this psychology technology space; it's quite niche at the moment. You explain it to people and you [either] get a bit of recognition or you get blank looks! Whereas there's loads of people doing psychology technology stuff here which is a great community to be part of.
What has been the most important thing you've learnt in your first year of business?
I think it's the value of connections honestly....Being orientated around looking for positives and looking for opportunities to help seems to be the real key.
What does the future hold?
A lot of excitement!