Developing Place Management skills in East Sweden

by Maria Sporre on March 12, 2013

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Husby Säteri is a charming countryside manor, situated on top of a hill overlooking the Baltic Sea in the eastern part of Östergötland, Sweden. It was built in 1795 by Curt Philip Carl von Schwerin. The property was abandoned for a long time but in the late 20th century a new family acquired it.

The story goes that Christer Wastesson surprised his family one day saying that he had bought a new house; the “house” turned out to be Husby Säteri. The Wastesson family lived there for 20 years before converting it to a conference facility. Last week I had the fortune to stay there for two days.

Thursday and Friday last week, representatives from nine municipalities in Östergötland and executives from the regions tourism and public business development agencies and companies, spent two days at Husby Säteri, participating in a Place Management training course.

The Place Management training course was part of the regional leadership  development program in East Sweden Business region (ESBR), where Bearing delivers process support to the collaboration project between the East Sweden Region (Östsam), the Municipalities in the region and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket).

Place Management training

bild2 imageAlong with Place Branding and Place Development, successful Place Management is fundamental to achieving Place Excellence. However the required place management skills are more complex and challenging in todays world than ever before.

During the last few decades Place Management has developed from simple quantifiable elements into the complex art of nurturing consensus among local and regional actors and at the same time working with attraction develop­ment. This means that, besides tangible and hard factors that are easy to measure, a number of subtle, soft factors, or intangibles, have gained importance.

The consequences for the place managers are that they need to have competence in structured work models, in business intelligence, an understanding of new trends and of new disruptive technologies and their implications. Additionally, place managers also need to have to have a number of personal competencies, such as inter-cultural experience, negotiation skills and good leadership skills in order to create collaborative environ­ments.

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The training was held in the manors library on the top floor, with the participants seated in work groups. In total 26 people from the region participated.

Work models such as Quad Helix, the target market model and sweetspot analysis were introduced and tested in group exercises. By taking the course the participants acquire a knowledge and hands-on experience from using these models, which will help them in their everyday work.

From the target market model, one important conclusion was that all visitors to Östergötland are important. Both business visitors and tourists are potential residents and investors.

bild3Participation was enthusiastic and very positive. One important topic that was frequently discussed was how critical it is to have a well-anchored achievable vision. Without such a vision for a region or place, it is difficult to develop strategies and plans and to implement those. In todays complex world this is more important than ever before.

Another conclusion from many participants was that everyone in a key position in a region is a place manager. Not only the people with official management positions but also people working in the tourist industry, business people, civil society leaders and key people in the education sector. Everyone can take initiatives and participate in development of their region or place.

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Additional information

Bearing provides executive training sessions for place managers with participants from both the public and private sectors. The course usually runs over 24 hours, from lunch to lunch, with focus a on active participation and it includes structured and pedagogical material where work models are explained using case studies.

If you want to know more about the place management training course, you can download a fact sheet by clicking on the link below.

About Maria Sporre :

Management Consultant at Bearing Consulting, with deep knowledge in Talent Management, Innovation Management, Orgnisational Development and Business Development with a wide range of industry experience. Master Degree from Stockholm School of Economics and In-depth experience at the operational and executive level as HR Manager.

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