|Groupe Intellex Study Tours|
|Written by David Brunnen|
|Sunday, 26 January 2014 13:58|
Our Study Tours are particularly relevant for those seeking to define the roadmaps towards ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’ cities and communities.
Study Tours take City, Community and Technology leaders and their policy developers, away from familiar territory and expose them to the very different experiences and perceptions of people and places that have already tackled big challenges.
Networking with other leaders in progressive places, Study Tours have this extraordinary effect of stretching imaginations.
As cities and communities plan to develop their local economies two major themes arise: (a) competition for resources and (b) pressures to find greater efficiencies in delivery of public services.
The competition for resources has always been regional and national but is also global – the latter being the wild card of inward investment in the major city league. But success is hard won and is rarely conferred on communities that have skipped the training sessions. The intensive ‘due diligence’ of global investors will inevitably expose any weaknesses or dubious credentials. Building global competitiveness demands decades of development, astute local leadership and careful advocacy of local enterprise and societal communities.
On the other hand, the very public pressure for greater efficiencies has great short-term appeal – not least to smart technology enthusiasts. The intent to ‘do more with less’ can so easily shrink to ‘doing less with less’. Without clear vision, no amount of market fundamentalism can muster the collaborative community will-power needed to grow a town or city into great place to live and play as well as work. Seen as high GDP growth, the wealth of local economies needs conversion to more broadly shared well-being. Parts of that conversion may include greater local procurement, a stronger skills base, locally enthusiastic enabling of innovation & new enterprise and greater care for society’s less able.
Study Tour design
Our Community Study Tours can be customised to meet the needs and priorities of specific places and people. We can identify study target locations that match the conditions and challenges of the delegates. We took, for example, leaders from the Scottish Highlands to similarly rural communities in northern Sweden to explore infrastructure developments. Some Study Tours can be focused more on the needs for Research and Development – how to build enterprise investment and collaboration – or they may tackle challenges of developing services for predominantly elderly populations or finding best practice in the deployment of 'smart' technologies.
As an alternative to selection of specific Study Tour locations we can this year enable delegates to attend an event where many of the world’s most successful communities gather to exchange their ideas and celebrate their progress. Plugging in to their wealth of experience – an intense immersion in the journeys undertaken by these pioneers – provides evidence and support for the challenges at home. In this digitalised era, collaborative advantage replaces outmoded interpretations of aggressive competition. We encourage intellectual immigration (because not all ideas are invented here) but knowledge transfer is a two-way street. In sharing ideas and challenges with others we can all contribute to new perspectives.
'Community Study Tours' is a joint production by Groupe Intellex and NG Events Ltd.