Sugarbird Studios… mobilising stakeholders around innovative thinking & future design

Sugarbird Studios helps companies mobilise their clients and stakeholders around innovative thinking and the co-creation of shared futures. We do this through the production of engaging and thought-provoking content for all media platforms, the production of on-camera stakeholder research that informs collaborative conversation and the design and production of immersive concept experiences that bring innovative ideas and new evocative narratives to life.

2020… & CO-NNE-CT

Well, I did not see that coming! Nor the big sidestep and reimagining COVID-19 would require of everything - from life, to work, to health, or to living on planet earth. Experience, conversations, connections, contracts, business … all fled online! But what an exhilarating experience, with very exciting outcomes. Two particular developments stand out - the Gen Re CO-NNE-CT platform to replace a client conference and an experimental on-camera research project, where, with iPhones and Zoom, we captured life in COVID times and insights for a more sustainable and compassionate future. - a compelling research documentary of life in COVID times … South Africa from Gen Re CONNECT on Vimeo.

There is no doubt that 2020 was a pivotal year in the history of mankind. And so it was important to capture people’s stories in this year of disruptive and extraordinary change. With funding support from Gen Re, we set out as a crew of two with a simple kit to capture people’s stories - on camera and online. A compelling story emerged and was officially released at a time at the end of the year where COVID destroys Christmas and holiday festivities and plans. is a serious invitation to regenerative innovation for a more sustainable future for mankind and planet earth. There is work to be done.

The trailer before we knew the full story teaser from Gen Re CONNECT on Vimeo.

The Gen Re CO-NNE-CT platform

With client conferencing out of the question, we rapidly had to seek an online solution that was quick to implement and robust enough to engage. We found an event app Gen Re had been using and quickly repurposed it to host and post talks, presentations, papers, and reports - all in one place. We branded it CO-NNE-CT, a theme we had already decided on in 2019, fortuitously.


A programme of talks and presentations that would have taken place over 2 days of conferencing was now spread over 3 months - given how quickly Zoom, Webex, and Microsoft teams fatigue set in after lockdown. Using minimal kit, we filmed and edited some 20 talks and uploaded and shared these on the CO-NNE-CT app. At the end of 2020 this was a worthwhile and enlightening experience and readies us for hybrid solutions in 2021.