Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Grow through Activating Local Potential

12. Keys to success

To promote growth and positive development, you need to be identified and used the opportunities that these local resources and qualities represent. Some of the municipalities managed on their own, others used the expertise and experience of professionals to help. Aurland, for example, used a specific method (LRA) developed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Systematic plans and loyalty to long-term development goals are essential. At the same time, don't be too strict. Flexibility, dynamism and the ability to adjust the course are important when dealing with local development. You must be prepared to react quickly and effectively when unexpected opportunities arise, and not to allow bureaucratic processes to interfere.

Limited budgets and lack of capacity mean that most municipalities have to make difficult decisions and set priorities. In the municipal "Fight" to retain and attract new residents, good public services are an advantage.

It is extremely important to determine the participantswho want to contribute to positive local development. Cross - sectoral cooperation and dialogue are essential for development. This is emphasized in all interviews. Development seems almost impossible without the teamwork of the municipality, local business, owners and volunteers. The mobilization of citizens of the local community can be of great importance. Citizens must take responsibility for their local community. At the same time, the municipality must motivate and support them. This builds trust and creates an impetus for development. Take advantage of local resources and creativity. The right innovative vision can be found among unexpected groups.

They are important in this regard cooperation and dialogue with civil society and organizations. Several of the municipalities presented in this report point to their cooperation with civil society as the key to their success. Volunteer organizations and associations play an important role in the local community, creating a common identity and building trust between residents. Active civil society also improves the quality of life of residents by creating meeting places, organizing events and contributing to services in the municipality. As we have seen, organizations can also be important participants in innovation processes.

If a public works project of a certain scale has been launched, make sure construction organizers use local suppliers and companies as much as possible. This can be done through contractual requirements and is a vital strategy for future increases in local growth.

Almost all municipalities selected in this report emphasize the importance of development company. The development company, which is partly owned by the municipality, can in itself strengthen the cooperation between the municipality and the local industry / business, but also initiate and coordinate business development and manage development programs and processes in a professional way.

For municipalities that invest in tourism, the creation of destination management company it is obviously essential. The destination management company can coordinate all local participants in tourism, initiate and manage projects and last but not least lead the strategic work related to marketing, visibility and building a positive reputation. In the case of Roros, for example, the strategy is to create an image based on quality and authenticity.

Many municipalities have created different forms of networks, unions or cooperatives between local small producers. Our informants emphasize that for the success of these organizational forms it is important to create a solid basis for cooperation At the beginning. Take the time to agree and draft statutes and operational documents with clear rules and procedures on how members should behave and cooperate and how new members should be admitted, including the distribution of costs. Leadership too is important. Cooperatives serve as an example: a cooperative is a "miniature democracy" in which all members have one share and one vote. However, there will always be differences of opinion between members. Such situations require a strict and clear leader who, when necessary, dares to engage in discussions and allow the majority to make a decision. There is time for discussions and time for decisions. Starting with something small can be a smart choice. Successful cooperation on specific smaller projects builds trust and can provide a basis for greater cooperation in the future.

The creation of places with urban qualities in rural areas is a key strategy for several rural municipalities (eg Afjord, Trena, Wang and Roros) to attract more citizens. In particular, they created an urban profile on the foundation of a rural area. This means, in practice, in addition to all the rural characteristics, to develop (but on a smaller scale) the qualities, activities and services that larger cities can offer.

Achieving status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site can be of great importance (Aurland and Roros). However, the status of a World Heritage Site is not a guarantee of growth per se; 80% of the sites on the World Heritage List do not register growth after obtaining the status. However, in places where opportunities have been deliberately used, the status of a World Heritage Site has paid off. Regions that manage to use status as a catalyst for growth are characterized by good organization, good and long-term management plans (which they follow and control their implementation) and targeted marketing. What they also have in common is that it took some time, often 10 or more years, before the effects began to be felt locally. In Aurland, the benefits of the status began to come for the first time when they used it Regional Park model.

Promote and show your community, your qualities and strengths. This is obviously very important for the development of tourism, but local industry and business also benefit from a prominent local profile and a good reputation.

In conclusion, and to state the obvious, patience is key. There are no simple solutions, and positive change rarely happens in a day. On the contrary, it requires constant and hard work over time. There are two main and important things that are common to rural municipalities that we present in this report: They have faced challenges and failures along the way and it has been a long time before the positive results and effects appear in the form of more inhabitants and / or economic growth.