Concept 22 gains clarity and direction through leadership programme

Concept 22 is a creative design studio that aims to create work that is both memorable and effective. Founded in 2010, it has delivered work for clients including the Marco Pierre White restaurant group, Iceland supermarkets and Merseytravel. The studio is based in Liverpool and employs eight staff.

Having grown the firm over seven years, founder and creative director Jonathan Holden felt that it was struggling from being too inwardly focused and insular. He put a tender out looking for support and received a response from business leaders support agency Form. Form invited Jonathan onto its Invent leadership programme, which is part-funded by the Local Growth Hub New Markets programme.

Invent is a six-month learning programme for leaders of creative and digital companies who want to accelerate the growth of their business. Participants are put through an intensive process in which they gain critical skills and insights to deliver company growth – be that in new products, services, exports, turnover or staff.

On joining the programme, Jonathan said he viewed it as an opportunity to step back and learn something new in a way that he hadn’t over the seven years he’d been running Concept 22.

“I came on it because it was time to challenge myself rather than just constantly sitting pretty and challenging the people who work for me,” he explains. “So, it was to raise my game, really, and question what I was doing.”

Jonathan says the guidance, advice and inspiration that he received has helped to make Concept 22 a more engaged team, with better clarity and direction. The company is now able to better focus on the creativity, happiness and development of its team.

“We’re all time-poor and you think time is money and if you’re not working on fee-earning work then you’re not being successful,” says Jonathan. “But without making time that you can talk with like-minded peers or learn from other leaders then you’re not going to progress, or get those better clients, or make better money.”

You can find out more about the New Markets programme on the Local Growth Hub website and more about the Invent leadership programme on the Form website.


The Local Growth Hub is funded by the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.   Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, business, create jobs and local community regenerations.