Survive and Thrive - Wednesday webinar highlights

Throughout the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Sussex Innovation has been hosting weekly 'Survive & Thrive' webinars in collaboration with Gatwick Diamond Business, highlighting and debating the key issues that are affecting businesses during this challenging period. Collected below are some of the key insights from each panel session, as well as the full video of each webinar.

Crisis management - what to do and where to start (8th April)

Our Chief Executive Nigel Lambe was joined by Peter Davies (founder and CEO at Airline Management Group), Gary Fee (international finance director at Bright Horizons) and Tim Cobb (founder and managing director at Cobb PR) for a far-reaching discussion of how business owners can respond effectively in a crisis - from the value of actively listening to your team and your customers, to taking the time to pause, step back and think about what action you should take next.

Peter shared his experiences of managing an airline through another global crisis, in the aftermath of 9/11, making executive decisions while remaining keenly aware of employee morale. Gary stressed the importance of recognising that the whole world is going through similar upheaval, and keeping the delicate balance between protecting your cash flow and being sensitive to your clients. and Tim gave advice about the value of strong internal communication, ensuring that your team is kept apprised of your plans.

Watch the full webinar below - due to technical difficulties, the opening 10 minutes were unfortunately not recorded.

Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing (22nd April)

Croydon Centre Manager, Saffron Saunders was joined by Ian Braid (Managing Director of DOCIASport), Maria Paviour (Chief Occupational NeuroPsychologist and Managing Director of the Maria Paviour company) and Esther Thomas (founder of Thrive and Well), who shared their experiences and knowledge about the importance of mental wellbeing during the pandemic, with valuable insights and tips for attendees to implement into their daily routine.

Ian shared his personal story of recovery from a diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder, stress and depression, and the key learnings he’s applying to how people can nurture their mental wellbeing during the crisis. Maria looked at occupational psychology through the lens of biology and how making a change with our body can help foster a change in our mind. From getting quick dopamine hits by dancing on the spot to grounding the body to calm yourself down, Maria’s BENDs (Brief Emotional Non-Verbal Displays) are designed as quick exercises to get us thinking differently. Esther talked about the impact of good nutrition on our emotional state and preparing your body to fight viruses; she emphasised the importance of vitamin D and B12 to protect our immune system, and including healthy fats in your diet to support brain structure and health.

Watch the full webinar below.

Making and Maintaining Sales (29th April)

Innovation Advisor and Student Enterprise Manager, Simon Chuter interviewed Mo Kanjilal of virtual Sales Director service Kiss The Fish about their views of selling best practice and whether they have changed in light of the current situation. Both agreed that it is still appropriate to sell during this time, but only if you adapt your approach and offer your customers real help.

Mo stressed the importance of having a proposition that feels relevant, communicating with empathy and a message that your sales team can rally behind. She also identified the value of understanding how your business is going to change, using this time to do your research into your customers and develop proactive strategies, rather than simply reacting.

Watch the full webinar below.


How to Apply for Grants (6th May)

Our in-house grant and investment readiness expert, David Porter hosted a panel of two grant providers and one successful applicant to discuss the ins and outs of applying for funding. Peter Wilkins from the UK Defence & Security Accelerator advised applicants not to bombard the assessors with technical language - just give a straightforward explanation of what you're trying to do, with clarity on the impact your R&D will have, and due appreciation of the risks that are involved in any innovative project. David Parry of the South East Health Technologies Alliance talked about the importance of doing your research and finding an appropriate fund for your 'technology readiness level'.

Finally, Gary Kendall, founder of Sussex Innovation members CDO2, shared his experiences of making successful bids to Innovate UK in partnership with researchers from the University of Sussex. Gary stressed the importance of his relationship with academia, and letting both sides play their part in the application - "Universities live off grant funding and speak the right role was to supplement that knowhow with commercial logic". Ultimately, the key takeaway from the whole panel was to avoid forcing your own message and to directly answer the assessor's questions.

Watch the full webinar below.


Furloughvation! (13th May)

Head of Sales and Marketing, Helena Jevons and our panel took a look at one of the silver linings of being furloughed - the opportunity to work on a side hustle. HR Consultant and founder of Inside Advantage, Monica Beckles started by providing an overview of the furlough scheme and what employees are able to work on under its terms. Our Insight and Market Research Advisor, Anne-Fay Townsend, examined the emerging trends of homeworking - analysts are expecting to see a period of innovation and disruption comparable to the aftermath of World War II. Both Anne-Fay and Monica praised businesses empowering their staff to take training courses, volunteer or learn a new craft while unable to work; the source of a massive surge in creative and social projects.

Raise Bakery founder Jeremy Jacobs then shared his experience of launching not one, but two businesses during periods of unprecedented global crisis. His key takeaway is that, when there's nothing to lose and plenty of free time, it can be a great motivator to try something you've always wanted to do.

Watch the full webinar below.

Mental Health Awareness Week (20th May)

By popular demand, our three guests from week 3's webinar returned to offer more insights and suggestions for maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing, this time focused on Mental Health Awareness Week and its theme of kindness.

Watch the full webinar below.


Building your social media presence (27th May)

PR and Communications Advisor, Joseph Bradfield was joined by Phil Hawkins of Colour Me Social, Susi Doherty of Vervate, and our own Laurence Grant to talk about the ins and outs of marketing your business on social media.

The panel looked at examples of businesses using social to respond to the Covid-19 crisis in a variety of ways - Phil emphasised the value of using social channels for dialogue and community building, especially in times of crisis, while Susi stressed the value of strong visual content to tell stories more effectively. Laurence shared his 'friendly' tips for networking successfully through platforms such as LinkedIn.

Watch the full webinar below.


Leading during uncertain times (3rd June)

Matthew Bellringer of innovation consultancy Meaningbit led a session focusing on leadership and the skills needed to manage teams through periods of instability and change.

Matthew's focus on the psychology of change management took in examples of how businesses can implement new technologies, connect their people and improve their processes in the most effective way.

Watch the full webinar below.


Lessons learned from the great homeworking experiment (10th June)

With UK schools closed for three months, most working parents were left with the huge challenge of working from home with kids. For many, an unplanned move to remote working would be difficult enough without the additional burden of home schooling and needing to multi-task.

Falmer Community Manager, Daisy Wood and Insight & Market Research Advisor, Anne-Fay Townsend, were joined by Monica Beckles, founder of HR consultancy Inside Advantage, and Claire Scaramanga, MD of marketing and creative agency Scaramanga. The panel discussed the impact of mass and sudden home-working on households and on women in particular, sharing remote working lessons, tips and strategies for businesses to support flexible work practices.

Watch the full webinar below.


Innovation for survival (17th June)

Innovation Advisor and Student Enterprise Manager, Simon Chuter was joined by a panel of three Sussex Innovation members who have developed new technologies, products and services in response to the pandemic.

Will Golder, director of event registration and fundraising platform Race Nation, spoke of the difficulties managing mass participation sporting events and the new requirements they are serving for race organisers in order to maintain health and safety. Chris Giddins, founder of promotion engine Uniqodo, told the story of a new community voucher scheme that his team developed to support local retailers and hospitality businesses. Finally, Mustafa Khraishi, co-founder of biotech company Adaptive Diagnostics, shared his experience of developing a new rapid diagnostic test for the virus.

Watch the full webinar below.


Crowdfunding (24th June)

With more and more businesses exploring the potential of crowdfunding to raise investment and launch new products, PR and Communications Advisor, Joseph Bradfield, discussed the various options and opportunities with a panel of experts.

Crowdfunding expert and founder of Crowdfund360, Jes Bailey answered questions on how to run a successful campaign, which situations lend themselves to crowdfunding and the particular challenges of raising money during a time of crisis. Anna Sward, founder of health food brand Protein Pow, and Daniel Sell, founder of games publisher Melsonian Arts Council, then shared their very different perspectives of crowdfunding as a fundraising and marketing tool for their businesses.

Watch the full webinar below.


A new Survive & Thrive event will be held every Wednesday at 1pm - find out more and register for future webinars by following our Eventbrite page.