Brighton Summit Review: A day for growing our business

26th October, 2015

Brighton Summit 2015

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This year’s Brighton Summit was all about inspiring growth and creativity in the workplace. This was my first time attending the summit and following Monica’s feedback last year I was really excited to find out what the day had in store and could learn for Nexus.

Keynote speaker Nikki Gatenby, Managing Director of Propellernet held the opening talk, which really did set the scene for a “Day for growing your business”. Her motivating speech resonated throughout the day with directors, office managers and digitals alike reflecting upon her inspired approach. So much so, I heard her name mentioned in almost every other session I attended throughout the day.

Nikki talked about the company ethos of Propellernet and why it is centred on improving a better work-life balance for both their staff and clients through inspiring creativity and collaboration at every corner. In essence, they are simply “searching for new ways to make life better” and they have taken the time to learn the best ways to nurture this approach to ensure they can blend their life, work and dreams into one.  

Nikki Gatenby talks about doing what you love

The company has been listed as one of the top 10 places to work in the UK for three years running and it was clear to see why. Nikki spoke about her team members as if they were part of her family. She talked openly and quite proudly as she shared stories of some of those dreams she has made reality and explained why each and every individual dream was important to the bigger thing they are trying to achieve at Propellernet. You can learn all about their amazing “Dream Machine” here.

One area in particular that sat well with us, is they are still an independent company and intend to remain that way. With a team of only 50, they are quite devoted to the fact that every single seat and each individual sitting in that seat is vital to growing the vision of Propellernet.

Nikki cultivates freedom to each member of her staff, no matter what role they hold in the company and is incredibly embracing of their individual traits and dreams. Every voice matters, they “empower their people through learning, sharing and collaborating”. She encourages growth at every angle of her business and it was clearly a no brainer to have Nikki open the Summit.

Monica on the day - Photo by Simon Callaghan Photography

Another fantastic and inspiring talk we attended was “How can creativity support your business?” Helen Cheshire of Brighton Gin, John Singleton of South East Dance and Andy Parsons of Yelo Architects held the panel discussion.

The panel were asked to define what the word “creativity” means to them. 

Andy Parsons, Director of Yelo Architects chose the word “kindness”. He explained that kindness breed’s creativity in every sense. If you are kind in your approach to your staff, colleagues, clients and those around you, you will naturally breed a true essence of creativity without even thinking about it. Kindness actually allows creativity to thrive. When we are kind, we are happier and when we are happier we are in a much better place to grow and nurture our ideas. This sits very closely with Nikki’s approach to her work and it made a lot of sense to us. 

Andy Parsons & John Singleton discuss the meaning of creativity in the workplace.
Photo by Simon Callaghan Photography

 Creativity is about everyone in the company, not just about a job role. It is about encouraging freedom and expression to every person in your team. Andy Parsons explained, “It is about letting the finance person get out of the office and be part of that bigger thing you are trying to achieve.”

It got us thinking about our own approach to creativity. As a design agency we regularly need to be creative but it is all too easy to use “lack of time” as an excuse to let it thrive.

It opened my eyes to the fact that you don’t have to be “a creative” to be part of it as every one of us has a voice and each of us can be responsible for creativity in the workplace. The best ideas can come from anywhere we just have to be open to empowering our own people and encouraging that approach to ensure that time is no longer an excuse.

As Richard Branson says “the quietest person in the room may have the best ideas, so it’s important to include them in discussions and brainstorming sessions.”

As a result of this particular talk, we have taken on board the wise words of Andy Parsons the Director of Yelo Architects “If you don’t have the time to be creative then why are you doing what you are doing?” We hope to take this insight into our own studio and cultivate how we approach creativity and our own company culture. 

Monica and I left the Summit that Friday buzzing with ideas, feeling inspired to pass on a few thoughts within our own team:

Growing your business the right way is really quite a simple idea. In fact it is rather obvious! Be kind, encourage freedom, and let your dreams soar. Your staff and clients will thank you for it and in turn will want to be the very best they can be, both in life and in the workplace. 

Thank you to the lovely Simon Callaghan for letting us use a few of his images here!

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