Dundee is the home of the brave!


I’ve been to several conferences in the last few weeks where the economy, future of the area and business can get ready for future opportunities.

What I have heard has really inspired me, not only as a Scottish business owner, but as a person living, working and bringing up a family in Dundee.

Visit Scotland are involved in a concerted campaign over the next 2 years to bring to life a series of milestones to drive tourism and interest in all things Scottish. From large scale events like the Commonwealth Games & the Ryder Cup to marketing around projects such as the Jubilee, Disney’s new film Brave and the themed years culminating in the Year of Homecoming 2014, there are plenty of opportunities for business to hook into, to help their own marketing work.

Dundee and Angus is a thriving location, and as the sunniest City in Scotland, its easy to see why large capital projects like the Dundee Waterfront and V&A at Dundee are taking place.

Having a bold, forward thinking strategy for a region is just the catalyst that is needed to bring inward investment and attract companies such as Malmaison to open a new flagship hotel.

There are many success stories in the business world too, from BrightSolid’s relaunch of Friends Reunited and their CEO Chris van der Kuyl receiving an award this month from the Institute of Directors; Mackays making amazing jams & preserves in Arbroath, Insights winning Customer Focus award at the Scottish Business Awards, Michelin going from strength to strength at its Dundee plant and many many small businesses continuing to do well in the region, we have much to be proud of and aspire to.

At an Economic Summit in the city yesterday, David Dorward Chief Executive of Dundee City Council led several public and private organisations in an event aimed at ‘laying the foundations for future prosperity in our communities’. Nearly 300 people from local businesses, the education sector, the Chamber of Commerce, the public sector and local & national politicians were in the room to discuss the economic future and positive future developments in Dundee.

And at a National Convention for Youth Employment hosted by Dundee College a large audience heard from Michael Moore MP, Secretary of State for Scotland; Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions plus John Swinney & Angela Constance both MSPs about the issue of how we tackle the future of our young people and ensuring they are well prepared.

However….here is my own personal take on things with a note of caution:

POINT 1: At all of these recent events very very little was done to engage pre, during or after the event via social media. More than 66% of adults use one or more social media platforms – and its widely unknown that 46% of facebook users are aged 45 or older! I certainly found no official event or host organisation use of social media on the day – if they did, they certainly didnt promote it at the events.

At the summit yesterday, there were a handful (less than 10 of us) on twitter using #DundeeEconomicSummit – with a room full of business professionals, I find this quite disturbing. As leaders, engagers in the community and business people, how do we expect to be able to take the brilliant messages & optimism that was in that room and share it if we don’t use a communication tool which is used by so many? There are some very good pieces in the local newspaper today – but I wonder how many of you have seen that?

POINT 2: what is the take-away concrete action from any of these events to keep the audience engaged with the process and build on all the positive things that happened? Apart from yesterday, where we were invited to email someone (without being given their address) if we felt we’d like to take part in ‘something’ in the future, there were absolutely no real next steps for the audiences – no dates to diarise, no websites to look up or register with and absolutely no social media platforms to receive ongoing specific news from.

So in summary – I’ve been very lucky to have attended some exceptional and really inspirational events in the recent weeks but afterwards am simply sent on my way and little by little, as the day job creeps back in, that enthusiasm & energy seeps away and we go back into our individual roles, losing the power of the larger group and movement for future good. So I guess its up to me to make my own next steps count!

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Thanks for reading…….Alison

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