The business ecosystem is no stranger to challenges, and the past five months have certainly tested our resilience. How do you manage the disruptions to your trajectory? How do you analyse the discourse to create new opportunities and pathways for your business? Recently we sat down to talk about overcoming challenges and creating opportunities with co-founder and CEO of ContentGroup, David Pembroke.

In a time of national uncertainty, transparency from our government is essential. ContentGroup has a collective focus on helping the government communicate with its stakeholders and instilling trust in Australia’s citizens.

“The promise of content has become more important. We want to tell the stories,” said David.

Never before have we had such a need to be connected with government advice and information. But what happens when, like so many other businesses, ContentGroup is struck by the COVID-19 hammer?

“When it came, you worry. You get the news and worry what’s going to happen.”

To David though, it is doing the basics well that has contributed to remaining afloat, both professionally and personally.

“Get up early in the morning. Have faith that your company vision is right, and an absolute focus on your values and that vision,” he said.

It was instilling this mentality into the ContentGroup team that became the cornerstone for re-emergence and growth. David places a particular emphasis on having strong cultural foundations – knowing who you are and what it is that you are trying to do positions you well to manage challenges. It is this culture and trust amongst the team that enables them to try new things and create new opportunities for themselves.

David perceived the uncertainty as a great opportunity for innovation. ContentGroup launched a lot of experiments, tested new ideas and explored new ways to enhance the way they communicated government information. David reflects on a speech about the 14-day quarantining protocol made by the Prime Minister in mid-March, of particular interest, the public response.

“There was significant backlash coming from the community on being made to isolate for 14 days.”

In these comments, ContentGroup saw an opportunity to give senior public servants a platform to discuss their decision making and strategy in implementing policy. A few cold pitches on the phone and a team planning session later the WorkWithPurpose podcast was born.

As of today, WorkWithPurpose has had thousands of downloads and interviewed the Head of Public Service Commission, Chief of the Defence Force, Secretary of the Department of Public Service amongst many others.

David attributes a lot of ContentGroup’s success to being a Canberra based start-up.

“If Canberra is not the best place to run government services then it would at least be in the final.”

He emphasises the importance of the innovation ecosystem and the community within it. Nobody is too far away, and everyone is always happy to help. Overcoming challenges becomes a great deal more attainable in Canberra, he values the friendship, accessibility and truthfulness of an ecosystem such as our own. There is no better place to pursue an idea, the support available is so ready and “if you have an idea, have a dig”.

In the face of challenges presented to entrepreneurs at the present, David reflects on his close friendship with England Rugby Coach, Eddie Jones:

England Rugby Coach, Eddie Jones

“We are more connected than ever – his key strategist is able to influence him from over 10,000 miles away. In Canberra, we should be dreaming big dreams and trying to become globally significant businesses”.

And we couldn’t agree more.

ContentGroup runs a government communications podcast of about 220 episodes called GovComms.