Economic Development Strategic Planning

This highly interactive course lets participants work in small teams to help understand the complexity of strategic planning and its challenges. Economic developers must build consensus among board members, stakeholders and the community as a whole, creating a unified vision for the future. Learn techniques to build consensus among stakeholders who represent different values and interests. Also, participants will learn the quantitative techniques used to better understand their locations. Explore project assessment methods for setting priorities and measuring your plan’s impact.

8:30 – 9:00 am Registration
9:00 – 10:00 am Introduction to Planning
Why do provinces, cities and towns become involved in economic development strategic planning efforts? This session will examine the benefits of developing an economic development plan and will provide an overview of the various stages in the strategic planning process. The session will also outline the goals and expectations for the course. Participants will be asked to share their experiences from strategic plans efforts they have participated in.
10:00 – 10:15 am Short Break
10:15 – 11:00 am Organizing for ED Strategic Planning
One of the most important aspects of strategic planning is the pre-planning phase of the process. Practitioners need to know who the plan is serving and must organize a team that will work together to carry out the process. A great deal of leadership and team building is necessary, and the planning team must establish a clear timeline for developing the plan. This session will discuss the values and cultures that the planning team must build upon or establish during formation. Building consensus among planning team members is a major component in the strategic planning process. The team that is put together must include many different stakeholders representing a number of values and interests. After the pre-planning phase, the practitioner must establish a sense of ownership and consensus among those participating in the planning process as well the general community.
11:00 am – Noon Consensus Building/Stakeholder Management
In a recent examination of successful economic development efforts, consensus-building was highlighted as a key activity for moving the planning process forward. Stakeholders must have ownership of the plan, which means they should play large roles throughout the process. This session will examine various methods to engage stakeholders and keep them involved in the process. Although building consensus may take time, it is imperative if the process is to succeed.
Noon – 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 – 2:30 pm Vision, Mission, Goals and Strategies
By establishing a clear vision with an understandable mission statement, the team can develop goals in a more effective manner. This session will discuss this widely overlooked but extremely important phase of the planning process. Leadership involvement, organizing for accountability and starting the prioritization process of projects will be included.
2:30 – 2:45 pm Short Break
2:45 – 3:45 pm Organizational Strategic Planning
Once a location’s goals are established, it’s important to look internally at the capacity of the economic development organization (EDO) to implement the plan. The EDO may need to adjust budget and staffing and/or identify additional resources to implement special projects. Learn how to put organizational processes and resources in place to meet plan goals.
3:45 – 4:30 pm Case Study Review and Discussion
15.45 Afternoon Tea & Coffee Break