Strategy building for regional development - Creating networks (NL)

Dwaande 1Creating networks with regional stakeholders

Project partners 6 municipalities, tourist board, Fryslân Marketing, Province of Fryslân, NFW, sme’s, ambassadors, Markant Fryslân, Ziesa Communication, gastengilde 'selfdiscovering hostmanship', Onof (SME board) Denkgenoten (Lauwersdelta innovationhouse)

Contact data
Frederieke van der Lijn
Municipality of Achtkarspelen
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Key words cooperation, local development, rural heritage, tourism, quality of life, entrepreneurs, social inclusion, sustainable development, network, website

Main problems to be solved (analysis) No lack of pride of the region, but a modest attitude on promoting our qualities. A strong focus on personal businesses and organisations, low motivation of working together, no awareness that working together makes either businesses stronger, more visible.

Northeast Fryslân is a region with mostly small and medium enterprices, small scaled touristic companies, different types of landscape, a region that lies between the city Leeuwarden en Groningen (west and east) and in the north the Wadden islands, a National park in the north en in the south-west and a National Landscape, a region that people pass when they travel to the cities for work or to the islands for the holiday. The diversity of the region is seen as a weakness, but can also turned in to a strenght, a quality. Lots of different landscapes and activities to do, surprising local events to go to, good restaurants to eat local food and stories combined with cultural places to discover. It is Fryslân, but surprising different.(Fryslân is know for its watersports and beautyfull lakes for sailing.)This is the undiscovered Fryslân for cycling, walking, horseback riding, horse events, canoëning, enjoying the small scaled, idyllic landscape. These qualities are researched by the company Open Communicatie who suggested to use these qualities and start a campaign that supports this small scaled characteristics of the region and makes it the selling point of the region.

There is no uniform way to promote the region, there is no common 'look and feel' or a place were to find information on how to promote your activity, No connective activities, cooperation on regional awareness and promotion. The region need to be stronger organised on several levels (local, regional and on an provincial level)to be able to develop and promote the region on a effective way, with combined budgets.

Policy frameworks to be dealt with/fitting in companies and organisations,, a good political basis for regional branding and the chosen theme is necessary. Support and agreement on political level are necessary for companies to develop new activities, combine activities and promote activities in the Dwaande campaign. Investment in a good website, social media and a look and feel for the region, which should be used by the municipalities to give a good example is very important, one platform where several parties can find information, partners, ideas and where they can drop ideas, information, activities etc.

Aim of the project Create a strong network between all stakeholders, entrepreneurs, municipalities etc. (in different layers of organisations in the region) as a foundation for regional cooperation to develop the region as a whole, with commitment on several levels, political, board of sme's, the province etc. It is done by facilitating meetings for all stakeholders, entrepreneurs, municipalities etc. (in different layers of organisations in the region) to accomplish a group of regional parties that initiate new networks, that creates a boost and a common sense of pride of the region. Starting up, support and direct a process in the region of cooperation, networking and new initiatives and combining existing activities. Working towards a shared focus and goal for regional growth, with possibilities for every party to join in on several levels and themes.

Expected results - promoting the region with pride - several networks on different themes, all concerning the development of the region: - networks for touristic promotion, sustainability, innovation etc. - political programme (Masterplan) accepted by all involved municipalities and Province, based on the ambition to develop the region as a, modern region with focus on innovation and sustainability Format: ANNO) - new networks by creating meetings with stakeholders ( thematic)for example a network of ambassadors that use their network and company businesses to promote the region: meetings with these stakeholders and directors of the municipalities including a interesting program with lecturers, one of the stakeholders is the host of the evening and invites everyone of the network in their company, a network between B & B's, restaurants and musea that create and offer a local cultural experience by arrangements, working together, the Ziesa cardclub is such a network that was created by making a free greeting card of each company. Every free card of every member of the network distributes it to their guest, promoting every other network members company or activity. This way of networking by making a concrete product creates new ideas for cooperation as arrangements . - selfdiscovering hostmanship is a sub project that builds a network of small touristic companies, that focusses on improvement of hostmanship in our region and works on development of new products that improves hospitality. Achieved by sharing experiences and knowledge of your own company by inviting members for 'kitchentable-conversations'. Training in using social media for members. Creating a digital network by using social media for sharing ideas, knowledge, new products or services or planning and inviting for 'kitchentable-conversations'. Expected result: more quality on hostmanship. - a strong network to connect all regional initiatives - a basis for all regional parties to link to - a network all regional parties want to be a part of - an ambassadors network that promotes the region by using their own professional network - a network of tourist companies that develop touristic and recreational packages

Expected outcome within the WP A method of how to start up a process of creating networks and common goals for within the campaign sme's, organisations and regional parties. The region overall using social media to communicate in common and to communicate specially about the campaign.

Expected outcome for the region as a whole (impact of the project) The region has developed a strong and popular network and campaign to promote it's identity, to promote it's qualities on recreational, living and working theme's, to obtain more economical growth.

Planning: the first network meeting was in 2008 starting wit the idea of branding the region, growing to new networks in 2012 of: ambassadors, promoting the regional brand Dwaande, touristic companies that promote each others businesses and offering package deals for tourists, starting up the kick off of the campaign and the masterplan in Februari 2011

Costs Part of the overall regional branding plan (format Dwaande Overview)

Financing Municipalities of Nofa, Province, sme's (ambassadors), Vital Rural Area

Implementation of the project (cf. CAA)

which stakeholders were involved? Onof (sme board), Sme's, municipalities of Nofa, Province, Fan Fryslan campaign, ambassadors, Fryslân Marketing, Stenden Hogeschool, Ziesa communication, tourist board

what process did you run through to fit the project into local conditions? The region developed a political structure with 4 municipalities, growing to 6 municipalities, and the Province of Fryslan. This was done to be able to build a political and financial foundation for an overall regional development of economical, social, infrastructural theme's. Regional branding is, within the Vital project, the basis of the regional development plan Anno. By making the overall regional Masterplan with all parties involved there are no limitations such as local rules etc.

how did you sustainably implement the project (locally, regionally)? By involving all regional parties on several levels and themes an overall commitment and exchange of information, support, ideas is created, also the urge to stay focussed on the goals of the project. A concrete planning for many years, but also yearly keep all parties focussed. Concrete results are important for all parties involved to stay focussed and stay committed

KEY QUESTIONS 1 Which successes were achieved so far in the pilot project? - several networks are created by the regional parties itself, a digital platform, several social networks, more cohesion in the region, more cooperation between parties (ambassadors network) regional branding as a foundation for regional development, the regional Masterplan ANNO, it helps parties to join regional activities, Dwaande is the opportunity to promote a business on a large(r) scale without loosing the identity of your own business, cooperation within Dwaande brings budgets, ideas and motivated people together. Not only ideas but most of all the implementation of ideas is what people motivates to join in. - what is the background / main reason for these successes? Dwaande is a way to connect, to be a part of and to identify with. Every meeting, activity or initiative intended as a part of regional development is taking seriously, is supported by the region, the municipality etc. It motivates parties to initiate new collaborations. All region development activities and ambitions were brought together in one plan to balance, the development of the region at its best

- what set-backs or problems did you face and what were the reasons for this? Every party and municipality wants the best part of the deal for it's own business, organisation or citizens, it takes time for every party involved to have a wider view on region development. Strong local sense. - are there any break-down patterns to be recognized in the project? Quick, concrete results and actions are necessary to keep sme' and citizens and organisations interested and committed - are these set-backs, problems or break-down patterns easy to solve? How? Make regional parties a part of the accomplishment, invest and facilitate networks, encourage any initiative to join the campaign - what are the DO’s and the DON’Ts of the project? DO support initiatives and new networks. DO expand the project in headlines, focus on your goal and also give the region the opportunity to contribute in their own way within the boundaries of the project plan and the goals. DO give space to stakeholders to be a part of the project. DO expand the project in headlines, focus on your goal and also give the region the opportunity to contribute in their own way within the boundaries of the project plan and the goals. DO show concrete results to keep entrepreneurs interested and committed DO make the project 'recognisable' and attractive by concrete activities DO facilitate concrete projects for sme's and organisations to join in or to start up their selves DON'T only work topdown, work topdown and bottom up at the same time or in different phases of the project

- what are critical success factors in this project? Find the key persons and stakeholders with strong networks to commit to the project, to profit from these network. A good regional branding campaign takes years and years, be aware of this and make sure there is financial support for many year. Make the branding a part of a larger development, combine budgets and goals.

2 What are the expected boundary conditions for the project to be implemented? - in terms of policy frameworks: it takes time to have support on financial and also policy level of all political parties on local, regional and provincial level, - in terms of physical circumstances - in terms of involvement of people / partnerships / entrepreneurs / public bodies partners, entrepreneurs, organisations will join (profit from) the networks, but will they also contribute in budget, work, organise etc.? - in terms of budget and financial support to find a formula of an equal divided financial support of all involved municipalities

3 Which related projects can be studied or consulted (other innovative best practice examples) before starting to think on implementation? Waverbey Valley Identity Project (phase 2)

Sustainable tourisme network Development of Tools for the Rural Regional Network of Picardië The most beautiful villages of Wallonië

Routes without barriers - accessible tourism in Portugal and Spain

Cooperative Tourism marketing – The onion Road

Online Regional

4 What is the applicability / transferability of the project? a) as derived from the project results - in terms of critical mass (physical, social, budget) some parties can financially support, others support in other ways except finances (organising, offering accommodation etc.) - in terms of the needs of the region or location a way of creating networks on several themes, businesses, activities etc., on several levels but still a part of and recognizable as part of one region, using social media for quick and modern communication - in terms of the starting point for implementation - in terms of participation and organization networks on several levels/themes create the possibility for sme's, landscape organisations, touristic companies etc. to join a group that fits there core business. This gives the network a stronger foundation, short lines in sharing experience. - in terms of time needed for implementation: one to two years to start with internal (5, later 6 municipalities) to start up ideas and internal workgroups as a basis for starting up thematically networks in the region. - in terms of expected outcome (spin off for other fields: physical, social, economical) transferable are the steps to be taken to start up a foundation internal (within the initiating organisations) and external (regional parties)

5 Which tools does the project bring in to alleviate / help starting up implementation elsewhere?

6 Sustainability a) How is/can the project be sustainably implemented? What is needed to reach this? - in terms of organization facilitate regional parties in setting up new networks that work on concrete activities and results, it makes the campaign, the regional branding and the region grow, to be able to facilitate: organise a project team with all disciplines and specialties needed for that specific project - in terms of regional / local networks/partnerships / people stakeholders and key persons with a large network who are able and willing to commit to the project, with good connections with in our case the municipalities, who are also able to look beyond their own business - in terms of budget organise budget for at least four or five years at the start of the project, with a concrete planning and also with a plan to create new finances after the first start-up period b) what are the benefits of the project seen from the Profit, Planet, and People side? the focus on and development of the region is not only money and economy driven. It is combined with attention for the typical landscape and nature. For example: Within the region specific business park areas are chosen for further development, to prevent to much spread of sme's. Business parks are not developed at every village but concentrated on the best spots considering logistics.

Date of production of this project format: December, 2012