Monday, 9 July 2007

West Midlands Economic Strategy Draft - The Digested Read

Now pay attention - we'll be asking questions later. In fact we'll be asking questions as we go along but they all generally ask the same thing: "what do you think of this bit? Any good? Want to help?" We're trying to influence £120 Billion here so hopefully you can be bothered to respond to this and you've got until July 31st 2007 to do it.

We're Advantage West Midlands and we kick ass. What we say influences pretty much everything that happens in the West Midlands economy. Okay, so of that £120 Billion we can only directly influence £2.24 Billion, partially influence £23 Billion and the rest we haven't got a hope in hell of influencing. But don't stop reading - because we matter and what we have to say is very scary indeed.

  1. For the most part everyone else is better than us. We're below average in Skills, in Innovation, in Business Productivity, in Educational Attainment and Birmingham isn't pulling its weight. Not that we're the worst overall but it ain't good. At least we've got Solihull though - they're the most productive people in the region (and we're really obsessed with productivity).

  2. Yes we know manufacturing is on the decline but we're going to talk about it a lot more (24 mentions) than those new fangled creative industries (6 mentions). Let's not get bogged down in bickering though as all we need are more entrepreneurs exploiting our knowledge assets. No we're not sure what that means either but we educate lots of graduates and most of them bugger off after their degree. Please stay, please.... Generally though, as long as you're not killing the planet you're fine by us (carbon: 53 mentions).

  3. Birmingham - we need you but you gotta sort your shit out. Without you we're nothing. We were a bit shy about saying it before but we now realise that noone really knows where Uttoxeter is, or even cares. We're a big region and you're our clogged but still beating cultural heart. If we get the world to believe in you then they'll believe we're the world class region our vision says we are.

  4. Our vision: now we used to think we could be a world-beater at making everybody wealthy but we were a bit hasty and we now we just want to be "succesful" at making people wealthy since the stats show we've not been particularly succesful at it so far (although don't forget we only influence about a fifth of total spend in the region - it's not all our fault). But if we can pull it off you too could be drinking cappucino by the canal like our friends on the cover. Those canals are in Birmingham by the way - our beating cultural heart, did I mention that already? (59 times).

There's more of course but it involves lots of acronyms, and summaries of strategies I bet you never knew existed from a series of organisations you never knew you needed. Once we've read your responses and we're back from our summer holidays we'll be reprinting this report without the word 'draft' in it and with a binding that will last a lot longer than the current one as we won't be consulting with you again until 2011.

The digested read, digested: Working from the middle outwards; slowly.


Aeioux said...

I think that this is a great idea. Most people haven't the time to read through the entire document and even if you do it requires a considerable investment in time to delve deeper.

Interesting what you picked up on the creative and cultural mentions - I'd noticed the same thing myself.

Keep it up, Dave - I think you're on to a good thing here.

Dubber said...

Great stuff, Dave -- and much appreciated.

Since they're going to be making alterations and corrections, I think perhaps there's a typo.

Do they actually mean that Birmingham is the 'beaten' cultural heart of the region...?