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Smith, Madeline; Lockwood, Joseph
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
The Institute of Design Innovation is exploring how remote and rural communities can build creative collaborations to drive innovation and growth, using a “Distributed City ” model. Just as in physical cities, the diverse capabilities and creativity needed for successful innovation are present, but dispersed over a greater area, and when connected effectively, can build a critical mass of innovative capacity. \ud In parallel, research into rural businesses identified some distinctive characteristics, including combining wealth creation with community, being opportunistic, flexible, resourceful and resilient, and a tendency to networking and co-operation. These characteristics can, if channelled correctly, provide the ideal vehicle for a successful cluster.\ud The presentation will focus on work with a tourism cluster, applying design innovation both to individual businesses and the collective group. Previous attempts to build a tourism cluster in this area had been top down and lacked engagement and innovation.\ud The challenge for this “bottom up” cluster was to create collective ownership, and collaborate to develop together something that they could not do individually, that could be “rippled out” to a wider group to create further growth and engagement.\ud By using design innovation as a vehicle, a new approach evolved, ensuring collective ownership, putting the customer at the centre, creating networks, not viewing each business in isolation but as part of a user journey, and highlighting synergies and complementarities, as well as gaps in provision.\ud This group has built a collective identity for the region and the tourism offering - “Venture North”. They are now developing a strategy and implementation plan, including improved on-line presence, use of social media, building coherent and joined up offerings of the unique elements of the region.\ud InDI is also now working with clusters focusing on Food & Drink, and also with the Malt Whisky trail (a whisky-tourism cluster).\ud \ud Learning points:\ud 1. Using a distributed city analogy to highlight and connect innovative businesses\ud 2. The importance of ownership and drive from the business leaders to drive a cluster i.e. Reframing the cluster development context from “being done to” (top down) to “being created from within the sector” (bottom up).\ud 3. Different approaches in engaging and partnering with regional development agencies, the ultimate funders of many cluster programmes, and supporters of rural communities.
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