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Silver Linings of Covid Lockdown level 4, one year on

On the anniversary of NZ’s entry into level 4 lockdown, ‘Silver Linings’ will celebrate Kiwi businesses stories of resilience, agility and humanity in a crisis, and reveal important lessons for success in the ‘new normal’.

March 2020. The month New Zealand went from being a curious bystander to the world pandemic (‘golly, look at what’s happening way over there in Italy…’) to being an unwitting participant. We may be now used to phrases like ‘socially distant’, ‘managed isolation’, and ‘level 4 lockdown’, but it’s hard to overstate how much New Zealand changed since we ‘welcomed’ Covid to our shores.

On the one-year anniversary of the big lockdown’, an event celebrating the innovation and success stories of the Covid period is planned for Auckland’s ASB Waterfront Theatre. Presented by Vodafone Business, the ‘Silver Linings’ event is based on a book of the same name and will feature stories of heartache and success, innovation, and surprise from the companies and people who managed to not only survive the worst of Covid’s impact – but to thrive.

Yes, Covid-19 has created tough times for many – but there have also been leaders like Sir Ian Taylor (Animation Research Limited) who have worked out ways to turn potential tragedy into success. Forced to be remote from all his customers, Ian and team applied ‘number 8 wire’ thinking and just stretched the cables between their TV studios and the golf tournaments they were supposed to be at.  Companies like Heilala Vanilla, who went from urgently manufacturing hand sanitiser for their staff, to realising they had a whole new product line developing – and capitalised on it. Legends like Cecilia and James Robinson who actually launched a new healthcare company in the middle of the crisis.

Cecilia Robinson, co-founder of My Food Bag and Tend

Kiwi tech company Soul Machines helped the World Health Organisation deploy an avatar to answer the world’s Covid questions in many different languages – all remotely, and in just three months. Nanogirl Labs co-founder Dr. Michelle Dickinson pivoted her largely in-person business to be a fully online one in just 24 hours. Rachel Taulelei and Kono group saw demand soar for their fruit bar products and found a whole new ‘ugly’ sales channel. The common themes that led these people and businesses to innovate so quickly drove authors David Downs and Joe Davis to write their book ‘Silver Linings’ (Penguin, 2021) and created the inspiration for this event.

As well as learning lessons from these business leaders, and hearing their key insights, attendees can also expect to hear from popular heroes like Dr. Siouxsie Wiles, the voice (or tweet) of wisdom to the masses; Pat MacFie, who set up Manaaki.io to help businesses around NZ; the people behind Vodafone’s lockdown ‘Lounge Jams’ and more.

Pat MacFie, co-founder of WeAreManaaki

In all, up to 16 speakers will appear through the day-long event, and the overall message will be one of perseverance, resilience, and optimism, as they outline their secrets of success in the new normal – what makes a business able to adapt and innovate in a crisis, and how to lead effectively in challenging times. Important lessons that businesses of all sizes can learn from and adapt.

As Sir Ian puts it, “There is a whole new world – and we wouldn’t have gotten there without Covid.”

Vodafone Business presents Silver Linings – Business lessons from the time of Covid. March 26 2021, ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland


In association with Silver Linings.

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