The A to Z of Regional ResetA list of opportunities and ideas for your region
When you decide to reset your regional strategy, the easiest thing to do is to tweak the existing approach - this ensures that things continue to tick along pretty much as they were without creating too much of a ripple.
But, right now, we find ourselves in unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is NOT the time to take the path that is easiest. Instead it is the time to take the path that is right - the path that will set your region up to flourish and thrive now and well into the future.
And because that requires some "doing", here are a list of 26 "doing" words to get you thinking. Which of these are going to create the right outcomes for your town or region?
When was the last time that you stopped and reassessed your community strategy and the message that communicates it? We often find that organisations will use their existing knowledge of their region and adapt that to create their new strategy. Reassessment provides a current and contemporary starting point.
How is your current brand holding up - particularly now that we are in a post-COVID world? The great thing about our current circumstances is that, more than ever, people are expecting change and transformation as we come out of the most challenging period in living memory. If ever you were going to rebrand, the time is now.
This word has a couple of meanings, depending on whether you include a hyphen. Without a hyphen (recreate), it means providing opportunities for people to relax and participate in leisure activities. With a hyphen (re-create), it talks about starting again with a fresh approach. Both seem like really important steps in a Regional Reset.
We all know and acknowledge that redesigning a strategy can be a difficult challenge. Redesign implies that the outcome is likely to be very different to your current state. But if ever there was a time to redesign - instead of simply tinkering - it is now. The world has changed significantly. People's expectations have changed significantly. Now is the time for redesign.
One of our three key words - that's how important we think this "re" is.
Your region may have a long and successful history. Yet, here we are, post-pandemic and, if you are like a number of regions we have spoken to, you might be unsure of what the future may hold. While you won't want to forget your history and everything that your region has achieved, it might be time to develop a clear and decisive re-establishment strategy. Scary? Yes. Worthwhile? We think so.
Sometimes, a reset doesn't require a "raze and rebuild", it may just require a re-frame. Re-framing is all about taking the existing direction and re-working it to create a more contemporary and relatable strategy for your town or region. Anything that was developed before March 2020 and the onset of COVID-19 will, by definition, need to be re-framed to reflect the profound impact of the pandemic.
Another of our three key words ...
It is one thing to reset and re-establish - but they are, to an extent, lines in the sand that need to be achieved to stabilise your community. But re-generation goes well beyond simply acknowledging the impact of the pandemic and providing a statement of stability. Re-generation is about new beginnings as well as growth and development. Is your reset strategy focusing on growth and development or just survival?
We've heard lots of messages from various media outlets about how businesses and other organisations are getting things back on track - back to this so-called "new normal". They are talking about using technology and saving costs - but how much of this is actually focused on making a better human experience? Re-humanising your strategy forces your community to think more about the individuals in your community and less about finances and other physical resources.
Imagine is one of our favourite words. As you undertake your Regional Reset, are you being constrained by what you've always done or are you truly re-imagining what could be? Embrace this opportunity to re-imagine your community - there has never been a better time to give yourself permission to imagine. Re-imagining your reset strategy means that almost anything is possible!
Forced isolation during the pandemic has seen communities struggle for cohesion and connection. We believe that this struggle has been even more keenly felt in regional and remote communities. As a result, more effort needs to be invested to re-join those communities. Strategies and activities that encourage communities to join together. To work together. To flourish together.
It seems to us that many, many people are feeling a sense of loss and change fatigue, stemming from the profound impact that the pandemic has had on communities and, in particular, smaller regional communities. What steps are you taking to re-kindle enthusiasm, re-kindle energy, re-kindle community engagement?
It is fair to say that this period of unavoidable interruption has taught us plenty of lessons about resilience and community strength. But are you embracing the opportunity to re-learn from these lessons? Are you taking active steps to ensure that your region re-learns what it means to be a community, post-pandemic?
While so much of what will happen as you reset your regional strategy requires you to look forward, it is also important to remember your past. What were things that made your community a great place to live, learn and work? What are the pain points that you can now consign to history as you launch your new regional strategy? Don't forget to remember!
One thing that we can be certain of is that the world has changed forever. From the global impact through to your local community, this year is all about renewal. Renewal of relationships, renewal of community activities, renewal of regional strategies for engagement and development. And the best kind of renewal is deliberate, well-thought and planned. Don't fall for the easy path of accidental renewal.
Before resetting, there will already have been an existing structure within your regional community. Some of that structure will be formal (e.g. council, community organisations, etc) and some of it will be informal (e.g. relationships, the "local" factor, etc). To fully reset, re-establish and re-generate, you will first need to accept that re-organisation of the existing structure is inevitable.
Very similar to reframing, repositioning is about understanding what you want your regional community to be and, then, developing a strategy and plan to achieve those outcomes. Like so many or other "re" words on this page, there needs to be deliberate actions taken to create the "new normal" and to engage the entire community towards achieving it.
In our experience, something that is often missing from a strategy review and/or redevelopment is people asking questions. Of themselves. Of their community. Of other stakeholders. Using the existing answers will invariably lead to existing outcomes. By re-questioning the current state, there will often be different answers and therefore, different outcomes. And surely your community deserves that.
When was the last time that you read your existing community engagement and economic development strategies? Sorry, when was that? It is time to re-read them and, once you have acquainted yourself with them, start the process of redesigning them. While you should not get bogged down in previous versions of your engagement and development strategies, re-reading them will give you a great starting point for your re-imagining and re-design.
The big one and the one that needs to be done by every single regional community. It is so easy to drift along, letting circumstances determine the way forward. There are plenty of action words in this list - this one gets done first. The reset is like pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete on your computer. It is the line in the sand. It is a deliberate decision to press a reset button. Are you ready to do that because we are ready to help you! The time to reset is now.
Of the 26 action words in this list, return is the one that we DON'T want you to do. So many people, communities and organisations are desperate to return to life as it was before the pandemic struck. While that might be a great sentiment, the world has changed dramatically and any community who doesn't embrace that change is destined to be lost somewhere between where they used to be and where they should be. Please don't aim to return to normal.
Many communities have been splintered by the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic - isolation has led to disconnection. Similar to "rejoin" above, there needs to be active engagement to reunite the various pieces of your regional community. But the world has changed and the old engagement methods may no longer be relevant to your region.
Revitalise is a word that is often used to sell vitamins and other supplements but it is worth considering the origin of the word. The true meaning of revitalise is to bring back to life, to infuse vitality. In keeping with many other words on this page, your Regional Reset must do more than simply ensure survival - it must take steps to ensure that vitality returns to your community, enabling it to truly grow and flourish.
Re-work always seems to imply the "hack work" that is required when transforming an organisation or, in our case, a community. Once you take the decision to reset, re-establish and re-generate, you need a plan to re-work existing structures, processes, activities, etc in the context of your new strategy. Don't become a community or organisation that does all of the design work and then stops before the re-work is finished.
Okay, so we cheated a little bit on this one.
We chose re-(e)xamine rather than re-look or re-think. Examination is much deeper than simply looking or thinking. Examination requires focus. Examination requires research. Examination requires energy and effort. Now is the perfect opportunity to re-(e)xamine the future direction of your regional community. To take time to create the "new normal" that your community needs.
So we cheated again - "you" is not even a verb.
But, in our minds, this is a really important concept. Each individual within your community - including you - has changed to some extent, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Are you ready to "re-you" - that is, accept that you too have changed and embrace that opportunity? If ever there was a time to re-you, it is now.
This is not a statement about town-planning - although it may be equally relevant! Things don't belong where they used to belong. This unavoidable disruption in all things gives you a never-before-seen opportunity to really transform your community. Time to re-zone your thinking. To re-zone the way things are done. To re-zone responsibility for community engagement and development.
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And so, there they are - 26 action words that we think are great starting points for you and your community as you start your Regional Reset. Need some help or just want to chat about your community - please get in touch via our Contact page.