Black Country Smart City Network

Strategic Business & Professional Growth

A fresh approach to market entry, trade shows, missions and study tours.

The Vision

Members of the Black Country Smart City Network are developing a plan for a fresh kind of market study tour to support growth of local businesses.  Taking in smart cities and future places around the UK and abroad, we will theme these around multiple growth agendas such as energy, transport, low carbon, life science and local specialisations and sectors.

This will build on previous activities run with universities and businesses, taking in trade shows, visiting project demonstrators, promoting the Midlands Engine, and positioning local companies as sector leaders in their target market.

At previous meetings, we presented opportunities to include workshops and other activities to support both business and professional growth. For example, facilitating innovation, collaborative planning, coaching and publishing before, during and after the visits, to draw out, capture and disseminate insights and to help turn the learning into action back home.

Our agreed next step is to map the broad requirements of some of the local organisations and feed these into a workshop to co-design the programme.  Here, we will bring together our collective insights, experience and wisdom to help achieve personal and company objectives.


Design Workshop Objectives

This workshop will aim to co-design a supported visit to a city that has purpose and value for you and your organisation.  It will get us all thinking: “How can an innovation and market study tour support my business and professional growth?”  We will:

  • present the outcomes of this preliminary research including a mapping of key design criteria for an innovation & market study tour;
  • help individuals refine the business case for their own organisations’ participation;
  • practice skills to maximise the impact (group dialogue and reflection, planning and strategic dissemination using photography and blogging);
  • help participants develop a vision and action plan for their participation.


Preparation Activity

On the next pages, you’ll find a series of questions designed to start you thinking about your professional and strategic requirements.  You’ll want to add to this as your thinking develops.

Please jot down any initial thoughts here – we’ll send out a weblink so that you can feed these into the design, in confidence. There, we’ll post a simple overview of the process, some readings and videos to provoke your thinking.

At the end, we’ll be asking you to suggest dates in June for a half day workshop in Wolverhampton or Birmingham.


Pre-Workshop Activity

Start by thinking about:

  • Your strategic growth objectives – what new markets are you looking at?
  • Continuing Professional development needs – of you and your staff?
  • Internal/external audiences – who you’d like to influence, eg customers, staff, partners, investors?


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