The Good Business Festival

A global movement for good.
The Good Business Festival
Type: Brand Identity, Placemaking & Events
Date: 2020 - 2021

The Good Business Festival was concieved in 2019 as the world’s first creative-led purposeful business event, as well as a placemaking event designed to put Liverpool on the map internationally as a city for responsible business. It was publicly funded, not-for-profit and produced as a collaboration between HemingwayDesign and Culture Liverpool.

In 2019 HemingwayDesign won a Liverpool City Region sponsored competitive tender process to radically rethink how business-focused events are done and develop a concept for a new kind of business conference.

We weren’t interested in ‘thinking outside the box’. We wanted to leave the box to biodegrade, forget that it ever existed and build something new.

Recognising the global issues of the climate emergency, biodiversity decline and social inequality are not easy to solve; we wanted to harness the ingenuity, investment and creative curiosity of businesses to help tackle these huge challenges while creating jobs, profits and robust local and global economies.

Our premise is that being a good business in itself is good for business. The festival aims to lead a global movement that believes that business purpose, social value and positive environmental impact are the future of profitability and inclusive growth.

Our ambition was to create a global summit for the good business movement with a genuine festival atmosphere and host it in a brilliant British city outside of London. Think SXSW meets TEDx meets Boiler Room with a hint of Davos – minus the private jets.

The festival aimed to bring together bright minds from around the world and across the board to discuss, debate and forge a path forward for the good business movement – led by creativity. This is a festival that’s about actions not words. It’s about being ambitious and purposeful, whatever you do – not just in business but across economics, science, arts, culture and academia. Global corporations, Thinktanks, policy makers, charities, NGOs and big thinking individuals are brought together to tackle the big issues of our time. 

This festival wouldn’t be just a few days in a venue or two but a citywide takeover with ambitious legacy plans. This included instant impact projects like large scale city dressing (from flags to billboards, digital displays to guerrilla interventions), local SME taster events and co-branded Google webinars to long-term impact projects including apprenticeship schemes, local curriculum tie-ins, a digital storytelling destination (The Good Business Journal) and 100+ national and international partnerships with cross-sector organisations.

Originally set to take place in October 2020 as a three-day city-region takeover festival in Liverpool, the Covid-19 pandemic derailed the plan, and like so many other events at the time the event had to be shifted online.

Our goal was to stand out in a crowded season of festivals turning virtual, so as always, we led with creativity – making sure that the imagination in our programming was matched by the creativity in production. How could we engage an online audience in meaningful, creative and exciting ways?

The result was a hybrid production – on the 8th of October 2020 we broadcast 8 hours of content live from our studio hosted by Evan Davis and Gabby Logan, with down-the-line contributions from all over the world and sessions hosted in Australia and Canada.

Live contributions and panel sessions from organisations including Mastercard, Deloitte, B-Corp, and Greenpeace were interspersed with pre-recorded contributions from big names that weren’t able to attend (think Google, Oxfam, Patagonia and Sadiq Khan) and short topic explainers made by our creative team.

The live event reached 5700 people across 42 countries –  individuals, business leaders, students, entrepreneurs and consumers. It gained coverage from broadcast media (BBC, Sky News, ABC) and print (The Guardian, Independent, New York Times, Forbes, Sunday Times, CityAM, HuffPost) as well as having a digital reach of circa 500k around the world, and all of the content is now available online on demand to ensure absolutely everyone can access good business learning.

The Good Business Festival took place as a three day event in March 2022, bringing together over 100 organisations and businesses to plan for a world where profit comes from purpose.