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MARCH 2018







Tips for managing your intellectual property.

Learning from mistakes in highrisk professions.

Upcoming funding and networking events. Edited and published by Creative Quills

Contents. 10 Q&A with inRecruitment Group “We are pioneering a range of different technological advancements within the recruitment industry.”




Day-to-day leadership

Dynamic risk management

Marathon vs marketing

Akenham advise on where to focus your efforts to get the very best from your team.

The insurance industry is evolving. Find out about Stonehaven Technology’s flood warning system.



Export support

10 tips for getting IP right

Essex Chambers of Commerce explain how they support new and established exporters in Essex.

Understand and manage your intellectual property effectively with practical advice from Sandersons and Co.

14 Achieving sustainable growth Abdul Razouk, from KPI, discusses the types of goals to set for successful business growth.

From running a marathon, to running a marketing campaign, Creative Quills’ Tom Broome shares his experiences of both.



Q&A with inRecruitment Group

Visions of the future

New to Parskide, Managing Director, Kate Nudds, introduces inRecruitment Group.

The latest update on the Knowledge Gatweay development, as well as KTPs and the Innovations Series.




BUNA spill the beans


Black box thinking

An interview with BUNA Coffee co-founder, Dominik Burcin.

Learn more about finance and funding for SMEs, and find plenty of opportunties to network over food.

Mark Willis, of WillisPalmer, explains why failure should lead to growth, learning and improvement.





hree months have passed since the first edition of POV - and in that time there has been significant change at the Knowledge Gateway. Most noticeably as we write this introduction is the thick layer of snow visible through our windows. More importantly is the progress being made to phase two of the Parkside Office Village, and the emergence of the Innovation Centre. With the framework for these new buildings now complete, we

can begin to see how the Knowledge Gateway will evolve over the coming months.

We have once again had a fantastic response from Parkside tenants, who have generously shared their insights and knowledge for this edition. We’re also pleased to bring you an update from the University, offering the latest news about the Knowledge Gateway. There are plenty of events taking place at Parkside over the next few months. From a crowdfunding conference to our charity BBQ, these tenant-hosted events highlight the active business community we have here - and are always popular. The newly launched Innovation Series also provides another great opportunity for businesses to network and learn from guest speakers. If you are reading POV in a digital format, you will find all email addresses and website links are now hyperlinked. We have also added hyperlinks to the address book on the back page that will take you directly to each company’s website. As always, we encourage you to share this publication with your contacts and network and we welcome your thoughts and feedback on what you would like to see included in future editions of POV. The next edition will be published in June, by which time the Knowledge Gateway will have further evolved, and the snow will (hopefully) be a distant memory.

Do you have news or an event you’d like to share? A story or insight into a topic that could be of interest to the community? Send an email to to secure your space in the next edition.

Day-to-day leadership. Previously, Akenham explained why only some leadership theories have captured people’s imaginations. Here, they discuss models of ‘day-to-day’ leadership. There are three stand out ‘day to day’ leadership models: Action Centred Leadership, Path Goal leadership and Situational Leadership. John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership model highlights that managers are there to achieve tasks, whilst also developing the strength of the team and improving the capability of individuals within that team. A leader and manager must do all of these three things in order to keep achieving results. Just focusing on the task at the expense of improving the capability of team members may achieve shortterm results but will make it harder to get more out of those people in the future, making it harder to achieve sustained long-term success. About the same time as Adair, House & Mitchell in the US developed Path-Goal Leadership. This argues that the role of the leader is to set stretching goals for their teams and then give people the appropriate amount of support to get them there. Later, in the U.K., Hersey & Blanchard encouraged leaders to change their style of leadership depending on the situation. For example, a highly experienced, confident individual may need very different things from their manager, than someone who is inexperienced, shy and nervous. So, if one of your team is of low confidence and experience, it may be more appropriate to be Directing - telling them what is required – letting them know what the task involves, why it’s so important, what is expected of them and what standards they should be aspiring to achieve. As the individual grows they are likely to become more skilled, confident and more willing to take on tasks. A manager can accelerate this growth by adopting a more coaching style of leadership. For example, the manager may start getting the individual to put their own ideas forward and asking them how they will complete the task so that they start thinking for themselves.

To further accelerate the person’s growth, the manager should also spend time with the individual away from specific tasks looking at what support and development they need to progress within their role and their career. And, with this growth and development comes some payback for the manager. They should now be able to start delegating tasks and responsibilities and set challenging goals for the individual to achieve.

Advocates of Path-Goal and Situational Leadership argue that leaders need to think about 2 things: - how focused we should be on directing people towards completing a task – so basically instructing them on how to do something or doing the planning and goal setting for them. - and how focused we should be on standing back and supporting the individual carrying out the task.

So - take a moment to think about the individuals in your team. Where are they in terms of their skills and willingness to take on tasks by themselves? Where do you want them to be? And, what sort of leadership do you think they need from you in order to get there - Directing? Coaching? Supporting or Delegating? What specifically are you going to do – be more explicit with instructions? Get them to have a go at doing something maybe running a client meeting? Or recommend them for a course? So now you should have a good idea of where you should be focusing your efforts as the leader of your team. You have thought about where your people are in terms of their skills and willingness to take on tasks. You know where you want to get them and what sort of leadership they will need in order to get there. In the next edition we will look at some of the latest thinking in this area.



Dynamic risk management. Stonehaven Technology discuss the development of their InsurTech solution for mitigating insurance losses.

InsurTech uses digital technology and data to change the way the insurance industry identifies, manages, and mitigates risk.


The tweet sent out by one of Stonehaven Technology’s Twitter accounts.

Stonehaven Technology are increasingly exploiting the potential of using a variety of social media sources, to automatically gather timely and accurate information which can be used to dynamically manage the risk of flooding to properties. The scale and scope of this functionality is potentially applicable globally, with the UK a perfect testing ground. On 22 November 2017, a flood warning was issued for the River Conder in the village of Galgate, three miles South of Lancaster. Stonehaven Technology’s technology stack processed the flood warning, automatically identified its geospatial extent, then cross referenced this information to find Facebook registered businesses and extract details. All this information was then integrated into a tweet, automatically disseminated by one of Stonehaven Technology’s Twitter accounts.

The tweet shows flood warning information specifically naming two businesses in the warning area was issued at 13:05 on 22 November 2017 and named the peak of the warning as being 20:42 that evening. The two businessees named in the tweet a car dealership and a pub - were catastrophically flooded. The car dealership had in excess of £500,000 of stock ruined. Stonehaven Technology’s automated information provided close to 8 hours of warning before the event.


The flooded car dealership identified by Stonehaven Technology.

Stonehaven Technology is looking to expand the use of automated monitoring and integration of social media information to enhance commercial resilience and dynamic risk mitigation.


It turns out that running a marathon and running a marketing campaign are not that dissimilar. In just under eight weeks, around 40,000 runners will be competing in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2018. Joining together for this iconic event, competitors will pound 26.2 miles of London borough, absorbing the cheers of spectators and craning for the occasional glimpse of friends and family. Everyone who is running the marathon will have a goal. It may be to achieve a new personal best, or to cross the finish line in sub 4 hours. It may be to feel the elation of finishing at all. I fall firmly in that final category. A few years ago, I made a vow to complete a marathon before turning 30. Having run half marathons before, I want to test myself over the full distance. Concerned that my body would fail me come the 14th mile, my strategy has been to build my stamina in the months before the race. Finding Mo Farah’s schedule to be occasionally too strenuous, I combined several ‘beginner friendly’ options to create my own tailored plan. Starting with short, gentle runs and working towards longer distances, it is designed to gradually increase my stamina over 17 weeks. I am also improving my core strength, dedicating one day a week to either swimming or rowing to further enhance my endurance.

You will have goals for your business too. Over the next 12 months, perhaps you’re looking to increase your turnover by 10%. As a runner, it’s (very) unlikely I will cross the finish line without a dedicated strategy and plan. The same is true for business, no matter how realistic the goal. To achieve that 10% growth, the strategy may be to penetrate a new market, or increase the existing market share. This strategy represents the direction you will take to achieve your goal. The plan is where your actions are detailed - and is guided by your strategy. This may be a direct mail campaign that targets leads in the new market, and the creation of a sector specific page on your website. A FitBit may not be useful here, but tracking technology, such as Google Analytics or a CRM system, will help you assess what is working and what can be improved. 58% of this year’s London Marathon applications came from first time runners. I will be one of them. The comfort of my Parkside office will feel far away. However, guided by my strategy, and armed with my plan, I know that my goal to reach 26.2 miles is attainable.

All of this has been tracked using my FitBit. Having a record of my progress is not only motivating, it also helps me to understand whether I need to adjust my plan to keep momentum. Creative Quills provide targeted, meaningful content that effectively communicates their clients’ value to their potential customers. Their tailored workshops clarify the aims of your communications and help to define clear content strategies to ensure these objectives are met.



Buy a mile to support CPotential and help Tom cross the finish line. For £70, your name or company logo will appear beside your mile. We’ll be sharing our ‘Buy a mile’ map across social media, so you can track his progress. To make your donation email

A message from CPotential At CPotential we provide life-changing learning for children and adults with cerebral palsy and other movement disorders.

With Conductive Education at our core, we offer a range of services to help individuals grow in confidence, skills and independence. The London Marathon is a fantastic event and this year we are lucky to have a number of dedicated supporters running for us. Each runner will be aiming to raise £1800, which will enable us to make a huge difference. Thank you to those sponsoring Tom. We can’t wait to see your logos spread across the 26.2 miles of the marathon route. Good luck Tom, from everyone at CPotential. Jo Honigmann CEO, CPotential Registered Charity No. 1124524

Export support. A key area of business support offered by the Chambers is around all aspects of exporting, something that will be increasingly important in a post-Brexit world.

We hold a licence through the British Chambers of Commerce to authenticate export documentation, whether submitted in electronic or paper format, through our International Trade team based here in Parkside and at one of our other offices in Great Wakering. Each year we process in the region of ten to twelve thousand documents from sme’s through to larger businesses, such as Colchester’s Flakt Woods or Tiptree based Wilkin and Sons, with the value of these exports reaching tens of millions pounds per annum. This is just one aspect of our work in this area. We also work with Chambers of Commerce overseas to help businesses identify new markets or find local contacts and closer to home run a series of events under our “Essex Export Expert” banner providing training on such matters as Export Procedures and Documen-

tation, Import Customs Compliance, the use of Letters of Credit, and exporting Dangerous Goods to name but a few. Although we don’t yet know the final shape of any agreement with the European Union we are thinking hard about what businesses need to be doing to futureproof themselves and prepare for possible changes. We have our own Customs Adviser, Howard Levene, who has considerable experience of customs procedures who recommends that “International Traders should do all that they can today to prove compliance with today’s regulations – now” To find out more about our work supporting exporters contact Kris Wilson on 01206 765277.

“Whether you are new to exporting or an established exporter, Essex Chambers of Commerce has a dedicated Export Team on hand to help.”



10 tips for getting IP right.


oes your business understand and manage its Intellectual Property effectively? If not, you are not alone. Many small businesses worry that it is too complex for them to handle themselves but too expensive to employ external experts. However, by following some simple steps, you can avoid the most common IP pitfalls and protect your business.

“A proactive, well-designed IP strategy can help drive the growth of your company and does not have to be expensive. Much of the work involved can be managed internally, but sound professional guidance will give you vital peace of mind. It is much cheaper to get professional advice and quality IP protection ahead of time rather than having to try and sort out the mess after things have gone wrong.” JAMES SANDERSON - SENIOR PARTNER

Sanderson & Co., Patent and Trade Mark attorneys, was founded in Colchester in 1956 and has been based here ever since. The firm moved from the town centre to Parkside Office Village in March 2016 in search of bright, modern office space and to be part of the vibrant and innovative business community at the Knowledge Gateway. They offer a wide range of Intellectual Property services, from IP advice and research through to the establishment of IP rights such as patents, trade marks and registered designs. They also assist with the enforcement and licensing of Intellectual Property rights.


Understand and identify what IP your business holds Your technical innovations, distinctive brands and designs, original authored materials, technical know-how and trade secrets are all your Intellectual Property. Some arise automatically but some must be applied for. IP is not only for big companies IP rights help ensure that the people who create ideas are rewarded for their efforts. They help individuals and start-ups to compete with larger companies. They can be extremely valuable and are a crucial component in building your business.


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IP rights are key business assets They can generate income through commercialisation and licensing and add value to your SME. Investors need to know your IP is protected.

Consider licensing your IP If your IP would be useful to other businesses, you may be able to license its use to them. It is a low risk way of exploiting your IP and can provide small businesses with new opportunities for conducting business domestically or abroad.

Make sure you know who owns the IP Under UK law an employer owns the IP created by its employees working “in the course of their employment”. However, contractors and consultants usually own everything they create – even if you have commissioned it – unless they assign ownership to your company with a simple contract.


Confidentiality is vital to start with If you don’t keep your IP confidential you risk someone else discovering and benefiting from your innovation. Also, some forms of IP cannot be obtained if the idea has been made public before you apply to protect it. Third parties may need to sign non-disclosure agreements at early stages.

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Think strategically Align your business plan with your IP development. Consider implementing an invention capture process so that you identify and protect new IP at the appropriate times. Think about international protection Most IP rights are territorial and give no protection outside that territory. You need to balance the costs of broader international protection against the likely risks and benefits of operating in the countries where you make, buy, or sell your products. Stay vigilant Regular searches of published IP rights will prevent you unknowingly infringing someone else’s IP. Infringement can result in substantial fines or injunctions for your company. Searches can also identify when somebody else is infringing your rights. Use your IP rights correctly Your IP rights can be challenged and invalidated if you don’t look after them properly. e.g. Trade marks must be used regularly and correctly. Patented products should be marked appropriately.

Q&A with inRecruitment Group. “We are pioneering a fresh approach to recruitment.” KATE NUDDS - MANAGING DIRECTOR

How was inRecruitment Group founded? inRecruitment officially came into existence in 2017 and is being formally launched in February 2018. inRecruitment was founded out of the acquisition of Professional Sales Personnel Limited and Vacancies Network Limited, two Colchester based businesses. It’s our goal to add real consultative value to the process, provide innovations to help business improve and manage the way they recruit and develop staff and create long-term partnerships. I’ve been working in the recruitment industry for almost 20 years and I saw a stagnation occurring with very little innovation taking place to better understand the needs of the clients and candidate. There’s a real need to support clients and candidates much better. What core services do you provide?


Kate Nudds, Managing Director and Founder of inRecruitment Group.

We are a recruitment agency that is pioneering a fresh approach to recruitment, by integrating technology such as candidate assessments, characteristic, coaching and management profiling into our processes. This approach ensures we’re creating more perfect job matches without compromising on our candidate relationships or our consultative approach. We also give on-going support to candidates to help them move forward in their careers, grow and become more successful. We help our clients recruit better by working with them to improve their processes. Moreover, we have a number of options that help clients utilise whatever parts of

our services they require. That may involve simply helping them reduce costs by managing their own adverts or managing the entire internal recruitment function on a long-term basis and becoming part of the clients’ team. Who do you work and partner with? Our expertise is within Sales and Marketing, IT and Digital together with commercial roles. We now have both local SME and global businesses as clients, but our focus is on East Anglia and London. We partner with a number of consultancy firms and solution led development teams. We also have some quite interesting partnership programmes we’re excited about launching later this year! What projects are you currently working on? We are pioneering a range of different technological advancements within the recruitment industry. We have software being developed in-house, such as characteristic and management profiling. This allows us and the potential candidate to understand the type of company that would suit them and how the potential roles we would be putting them forward for would progress them in their chosen career.



We’re also in the process of creating some bespoke applications within our CRM system to help improve the communication between our clients and our candidates to remove some of the frustrations these stakeholders can experience with the recruitment process.

nies are starting up or moving into the Essex areas. This is because people don’t have to pay London prices but are still extremely close to the city. This means we are perfectly placed to help them grow their business with only the best people.

What ambitions do you have for the company?

Parkside stood out as the perfect place for us as its stylish and modern design reflects our approach as a business. Furthermore, while we do deal with many senior roles, the location of Parkside means we can develop strong connections with the University, ensuring we become a graduates’ first thought when starting their job hunt and career.

We have a clear roadmap to launch our software driven solutions this year. In addition to the technical ambitions, our client base is continually growing. To make sure our clients are still receiving the best service possible we will also be growing our team. This will entail taking on specialist recruiters to build strong industry focused teams. In terms of geographic reach, we’ve set aside budget to open a London office later this year. Why Colchester and Parkside? It was an easy decision. Firstly, Colchester is a fantastic area for a recruitment agency as we have seen in recent years that many compa-

How can the businesses at Parkside support you? I’ve attended some of the networking meetings at Parkside and I’ve had some great chats with some interesting people. I’m sure we’ll be calling on some of the businesses to make use of their services and if we can return the favour and help you please let me know!


You can see the next phases of our Knowledge Gateway research and technology park emerging around Parkside Office Village. The next phase of Parkside – just beside the current site – will be ready for autumn 2018 and we’re really excited about the level of interest from potential tenants so far. Just across the road our £12m Innovation Centre is taking shape thanks to a £2m grant from Essex County Council plus £2m from South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund. We’re on track to open the Innovation Centre in spring 2019 and it will provide a home to more than 50 start-ups and fast growing hi-tech businesses. We released new images at the beginning of the year of both projects and we were delighted by the reception. The success of our Start-up Hub at Parkside which has seen our team help establish 20 registered companies is also giving us confidence about what we can achieve at the Innovation Centre. We’ll share more detailed plans soon, including our proposals for a state-of-the-art digital suite, which can build on our artificial intelligence and virtual reality expertise. Our partners are sharing our excitement. Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, told us: “Essex is leading the UK on start-ups of new enterprises and Essex County Council’s investment of £2million into the Innovation Centre at the University of Essex demonstrates our commitment to support these businesses by providing the right types of workspaces. “We also recognise the importance of Colchester as a digital cluster and this investment will help to further enhance Colchester’s presence in this sector.” The amazing businesses and organisations now at Parkside have given us an incredible foundation to build on. We’ve invested a total of £50m so far in creating our Knowledge Gateway research and technology park to bring together great infrastructure, talented academic researchers, space for start-ups, and opportunities for anchor tenants to establish new regional centres on our campus. Our long-term vision is to create more than 2,000 high-value jobs within 15 years by offering a home to more start-ups, SMEs and global businesses.



Visions of the future. “The amazing businesses and organisations at Parkside have given us an incredible foundation to build on.”

Sharing our knowledge The University of Essex is now one of the leading universities in the UK for working with business through Innovate UK’s flagship Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme. Parkside companies Mondaq and MSX International have taken the chance to work with our researchers and a talented research associate to develop innovative services and products. They are now part of our portfolio of 24 businesses across London and the eastern region working with us on KTPs. Our Institute for Analytics and Data Science based at Parkside is also working on various KTP projects. To find out more contact our our KTP Manager, Rob Walker at: Knowledge and networking We’ve launched the new Innovation Series at Parkside to allow businesses to connect with our expertise at the University of Essex and the Knowledge Gateway. Every other month the Innovation Series bring people together for a short talk followed by a networking session. You’ll gain knowledge from academic leaders and other businesses, and have a chance to network and unwind midweek, over light refreshments. To find out more about upcoming events visit:

Achieving sustainable growth. Abdul Razouk, from Knowledge Pathways International, discusses key areas of focus to achieve sustainable business growth. “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

Instead, they focus more on selling and maintaining cash flow levels which are undoubtedly two important variables, but not alone.

James Cash Penney

A lot of companies work with the sole purpose of getting more profits embedded in their organisational culture and ignore the fact that without serving more customers their businesses are doomed. “How can I grow my business and make it successful?” is a frequently asked question by many businesses, small or large, in this hypercompetitive market. Many businesses want to grow and become more successful, but this is either taking them too long or they are unable to do so. The main reason for this is that they do not have clarity when it comes to the critical areas that make or break their businesses.

They also tend to underestimate or sometimes ignore that customer satisfaction is an important metric that affect their success, profitability and growth. Such businesses generally do not look for creative ways to add value and to enhance the customer experience. The contribution of these companies to solve customers’ problems and their willingness to improve the services they provide are not the central focus.

Many of these companies strongly believe that success and growth take place over night, not over time. They aim to become bigger, but unfortunately they do not have a growth plan. All they have in mind is that they want to grow. Growth goals for revenue and profitability are important, but they need to be considered alongside other factors to minimise problems along the way. A business seeking sustainable growth should also set goals for: • • •

building and maintaining reputation providing the best customer service and experience investing in its people

Focussing on some business areas and ignoring others is a short-term and unsustainable strategy that will result in businesses becoming stagnant and falling behind.



BUNA spill the beans.

“We want to change people’s perceptions of how they experience coffee in the Essex area.” INTERVIEW WITH DOMINIK BURCIN CO-FOUNDER, BUNA COFFEE

I started my Politics and Philosophy course in 2013. It was one of my first experiences of living outside my home country of Slovakia for a long period of time. I fell in love with the British sense of multiculturalism and how vibrant the society is. However, I realised there is a small gap in having really good access to speciality coffee. From the experience of people appreciating the work of the farmer who grows the coffee bean, appreciating the roaster who pays attention to high-quality roasting, and appreciating the barista who can easily ruin your coffee if he’s not careful enough. That whole experience that I had encountered in other countries and cities was missing for me. I decided to change my course to Politics and Economics, because I became more interested in finance. In 2014 I took over part of our family business back in Slovakia - which has nothing to do with coffee. I gained transferable skills. I became experienced in logistics, wholesaling and retailing different items and services to clients, which helped me dramatically with what I am doing now with BUNA Coffee. There are so many variables involved in sourcing speciality coffee beans from different places around the world, arranging for it to be shipped and pack-

aged immediately, so the coffee arrives in the best condition and the client is satisfied. In my third year I was successful in getting the job at Knowledge Pathways International (KPI) as Educational Trip Assistant. At that stage I was already a proper addict to speciality coffee. I bought coffee with me to the office, and the grinder and the whole set, and people were just surprised because they hadn’t seen anything other than instant coffee really. I offered coffee to everyone in the office, and they liked it and wanted to know how to make it. I suggested to Abdul and Omar (KPI’s founders) that there is potential in the Essex area for speciality coffee. They asked me to put together some more numbers, I did that and we met again to discuss the concept and financials, and we decided it was a good idea. We were in need of technology, people, supplies, and all the permits from the council. So I started researching in my spare time, outside my studies, family business, and internship. We established BUNA Coffee as three partners, and we decided we wanted to change people’s perceptions of how they experience coffee in the Essex area and the difference they can make. Columbia, for instance, is heavily affected by the cocaine trade. In growing more coffee instead of cocaine, people are actually getting more money from

it, so not entering the cocaine industry. We are trying to promote direct trade instead of fair trade, which is fairer because we give more money to the farmer who is trying to get the best out of growing coffee. He would get more money from us than from a fair trade scheme. With fair trade schemes, the price for coffee is set for a specific region and time of harvest, but its premium quality is not rewarded with extra money for hard-working farmers, as opposed to direct trade schemes. We started BUNA in June 2017. Our aspirations for this year include exporting the brand to other countries. We also want to open a coffee shop in the local area by the end of the year. We are trying not to do too much at any one time as we focus on quality. Everything we do has to be perfect. I wouldn’t go to bed with peace in my mind if something I did wasn’t as good as it could be. We are currently working on a plan for a service for Parkside businesses. The idea is that businesses can order freshly brewed coffee for the office in a temperature-insulating airpot. It would be delivered every morning, freshly made by us, and something enjoyable, as opposed to regular instant coffee. It could be for events, or everyday coffee drinking. We believe if people drink and eat nice things, it makes them feel better as well, and the result can create a really nice work environment.


Funding events. A range of no-fee services and academic expertise from the Universities of East Anglia, Essex, Kent and London School of Economics is available to help your company or local authority use data more effectively. We run a comprehensive selection of events for data scientists, professionals and the public. These include training seminars and courses, free webinars and public lectures. Our upcoming events include:

Webinar | What Affects Bank Debt Rejection? Bank lending conditions in UK SMEs Thursday 10 May 12 - 1pm Interested to know how micro and small businesses can improve their chances of bank loans? In this webinar Mingchen Sun will present his recent research on bank lending conditions for small to medium sized enterprises in the UK.

Alternative Finance Conference Wednesday 6 June 1 - 6pm Essex Business School Equity crowdfunding is currently a hot topic with the UK the world leader in this form of crowdfunding where private firms can raise equity sums from the crowd but still remain private. Join us for this conference which will feature a keynote address by one of the leading crowdfunding researchers in the world, Douglas Cumming, Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Ontario. It will also bring together both UK and overseas academics engaged in research on his topic as well as crowdfunding professionals from the UK platforms (such as Crowdcube, Seedrs and Syndicate Room) and regulators to discuss future developments including regulation and Brexit. To register your interest email



Get baking. Tuesday 20 March 12 - 2pm The Incubator, The Green House Following our Christmas open office event, which raised £61 for Save the Children, the Haven Gateway Partnership are hosting an Easter Bake Off Competition in support of the Bradley Lowery Foundation. Bradley, aged 6 lost his battle with Neuroblastoma in 2017 and the foundation was formed to support other families with the illness.

Haven Gateway Partnership

Bring your Easter themed cake ready for judging at 12pm at our Parkside offices or come along and make a donation to sample all the cakes on offer. There are some fantastic prizes on offer on the day as well as a great opportunity to meet fellow businesses over tea and cake. If you would like to enter our bake off competition, please contact Rita for an entry form:

Business breakfast. Our 2018 programme of Business Time breakfasts kicked off with a presentation by Cheryl Cook on the KEEP+ business support programme run by a consortium of universities, including the University of Essex and Anglia Ruskin University. This is a £9.3 million EU fund aimed at small businesses. Details of the scheme can be obtained from Josh Marshall at Essex University by phoning 01026 873323 or emailing

Creative grills.

The next breakfast on Tuesday 13th March will be taking a look at one of Colchester’s most important charities, Open Road, who focus on helping people with drug and drink addictions. What is not appreciated is the effect these can have on businesses with up to 17 million working days being lost each year due to alcohol addiction at a cost of £7.3 billion per annum. Anna Trudgian, Open Road’s Operations Director, will be talking about these issues and the work they undertake to help individuals deal with them. To book your places at this event go to

Tuesday 15 May 12 - 2pm Parkside Office Village Last year, Parkside Office Village came together for a charity BBQ in the sunshine, helping to raise over £600 for Farleigh Hospice. This year, Creative ‘Grills’ is back, ready to kick off summer with more burgers, more sausages, and (fingers crossed) more sunshine.

On the day, Creative Quills will be raising money for CPotential, an inspiring charity proividing therapy and education for children with movement disabilities. Our director, Tom Broome, is running this year’s London Marathon for CPotential, and is looking to raise £1800 for the charity.

Tickets will be £5, and you can pay by cash or text on the day. As well as burgers, sausages and vegetarian curry, there will be a range of delicious sides. So leave your packed lunch at home and help us raise money and have fun in the sun. We hope to see you there.

Black box thinking. Providers of independent social work services, WillisPalmer discuss the value in encouraging a climate that views failure as an opportunity to learn, grow and improve. BY MARK WILLIS DIRECTOR, WILLIS PALMER

December 28th, 1978. United Airlines Flight 173 took off from JFK International airport in New York heading to Portland, Oregon. Captain Malburn McBroom was a 52-year-old veteran of the Second World War, an exceptionally experienced pilot. Flying conditions were close to perfect. The flight was routine and uneventful until the moment at 17.10 when Captain McBroom pulled the lever to lower the landing gear for the final descent into Portland. Normally he would have heard an audible click as the landing gear locked into place. On this occasion however there was an altogether different sounding thud followed by a shudder felt throughout the aeroplane. Captain McBroom was concerned the landing gear had failed to lower but he couldn’t be sure. He decided to circle above the airport while he considered his options. He lost track of time and while the minutes went by he still had no idea whether the landing gear was safely down. He thought furiously about how he could solve the problem, meanwhile the engineer repeatedly alerted him to the alarmingly low level of fuel left in the aeroplane’s tanks. The so-called ‘black box’ voice recorder would later reveal the extent to which Captain McBroom failed to hear the warnings of his Co-pilot and First Engineer about the dwindling fuel levels. He was too focused on the possibility that the landing gear had not lowered. Time was passing faster and faster for the Captain as his focus narrowed. At 18.14, a full 64 minutes after his attempt to lower the landing gear, Flight 173 crashed into a wooded suburb killing eight passengers and two crew, including the Flight Engineer who had tried so hard to alert the Captain to the lack of fuel reserves. McBroom survived and his skill at averting a more significant crash was rightly praised; 179 passengers and crew also survived. This incident proved to be a watershed moment for the aviation industry. Within minutes the air crash investigation team had begun to go over the evidence with a fine tooth-comb.

“Learning from mistakes in any high-risk profession is critical to improvement and has a direct correlation with outcomes.” MARK WILLIS



How does this compare with our child protection system in the UK? Just like aviation, child protection is a high-risk industry where failure can result in serious harm or even the death of a child. If a young person has been harmed by their carers, a Serious Case Review is undertaken – although rarely is it done straight away so lessons can be learned quickly as they are in the aviation industry. Furthermore, the reviews tend to unearth the same mistakes being made in case after case with little evidence of learning from past failures. And when it comes to the issue of blame one only has to look at the events following the death of Peter Connelly (Baby P) in 2008 when The Sun’s headline immediately following the criminal trial of Peter’s mother and stepfather was “Blood on their Hands” – referring not to those who killed the 17-month old but the social workers and their managers. The Director, Sharon Shoesmith, was immediately relieved of her duties by the government minister Ed Balls; she contemplated suicide. The public outcry was deafening.

Ultimately, they found the Captain had become overly-focused on the wrong thing – the landing gear, and had failed to spot that a lack of fuel in the tanks would potentially be far more catastrophic than attempting to land without wheels. And so it proved. The investigation team listened back to the voice recorder and found that the Flight Engineer had made numerous ‘hints’ to the pilot about the fuel level but could not quite bring himself to challenge his boss directly. For his reticence he paid with his life. The problem the investigators identified was not that McBroom had lost focus, he actually had too much focus – on the wrong problem. Task-focused behaviour is actually an effective way of applying one’s effort but when this focus comes at the expense of the ‘bigger picture’ it undermines performance. In this case McBroom hadn’t processed the information being given to him in increasingly desperate tones by his colleague. The story of United Airlines Flight 173 is told in more detail and with more drama in the book by Matthew Syed, ‘Black Box Thinking’. I recently attended a conference where Syed spoke with brilliant alacrity about how the aviation industry has over the years learned to embrace failure. Flight 173 is a case in point; the investigation made a recommendation that improved crew resource management should be implemented to confront the natural hierarchical blocks when challenging senior crew members. From failure, change emerged. The changes have saved lives. Aviation is an incredibly safe industry. This is largely because investigators review air crashes (and near misses) in a climate of learning (from failure). Moreover, there is an avoidance of the so-called ‘blame game’; the primary purpose of air crash investigations is to find ways to ensure they can never happen again. And in the wider context there tends to be few public calls for sackings after an air crash; the mainstream media will report on the tragedy of lost lives rather than focusing on the ‘failure’ of individuals.

As Syed says in his book, the UK social work system would benefit from a complete change of culture directed at it becoming “a truly adaptive organisation with forward looking accountability” but this can only occur if children’s services adopt a just culture. A culture where learning happens every day and honest mistakes are not punished but are seen as an opportunity to learn, grow and improve. Whether the wider context of our national newspapers and our politicians would allow this is doubtful, but that is no reason not to try. It is also worth remembering that the pilot of Flight 173 saved many lives despite his over-focus on the landing gear – his skill, courage and experience proving vital in otherwise appalling circumstances. And social workers also save lives every day – this never gets reported – but the good work they do is reflected by the fact that the homicide rate for children is falling while the numbers of children at risk of abuse and neglect has increased by 24% in the last five years. Learning from mistakes in any high-risk profession like children’s social work or aviation is critical to improvement and has a direct correlation with outcomes, whether it be passenger safety or a reduction of child deaths. But it needs a societal culture change as well as a change in the way local authority children’s services train, develop and support their social workers. A little bit of Black Box Thinking could go a long way.

If you are interested in this subject, WillisPalmer is presenting a national conference at Kings College, London on May 18th. ‘Wisdom from failure: a kaleidoscope on child protection’ will include speakers from the legal profession, social workers, academics and survivors of abuse. The keynote speaker is Matthew Syed, author of the ground-breaking book ‘Black Box Thinking’. To book your ticket visit


MARCH 2018

Address book.

A1 inRecruitment Group TT Education MSX International



Knowledge Pathways International


BUNA Coffee

Planck Ltd



Europlan UK

Universal Web Design

Stonehaven Techonology


B3 Essex Chambers of Commerce

SmartNE Akenham Creative Quills

C1 Haven Gateway Partnership

C2 The Start Up Hub Teaboy Games Sketchbook Games Shark Infested Custard

D1 WillisPalmer

ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre Institute for Analytics and Data Science



Sanderson & Co

Process Safety Solutions

02 POV Digital Edition: March 2018  

The second edition of POV, a community-led publication featuring news and views from Parkside Office Village. Edited and published by Creat...

02 POV Digital Edition: March 2018  

The second edition of POV, a community-led publication featuring news and views from Parkside Office Village. Edited and published by Creat...