As you may know I used to be employed by one of those RDA’s, the ones that are now all but abolished. So it’s with some interest that I read that the decision to abolish RDA’s was taken by ministers with barely any discussion about the implications or wisdom of doing so. Reading that Michael Heseltine now thinks they shouldn’t have been abolished does sting a little I must confess.
It doesn’t sting just because of my personal circumstances. Rather it’s because I was, and am, concerned that we were dismantling key elements in our economic development infrastructure at a time when they were needed most. I used to joke that I made economic strategy from an Ivory Tower in Leeds. The Whitehall Ivory Towers lack of understanding is however no joke.
However, there’s no point crying over spilt milk. We’re in an economic mess locally nationally and globally, and there’s little point sitting back and waiting for the government or ‘the economy’ to ride to the rescue. We need to reflect on how we arrived at this position, take some time to consider what assets and opportunities we have to work with, think about where things are going in the future, and then make our own destinies. That definitely means doing things differently, it means innovating and responding to changed circumstances. What it definitely doesn’t mean is trying to breath life into the way things used to be done. The times they have a changed and we need to change too.
In my own small way thats what I’d like to help entrepreneurs, Local Authorities, LEP’s, social enterprises, community groups and the like do. I understand how things work and have a decent perception of where we’re heading, as well plenty of experience of getting people from different organisations and sectors to talk to each other. I’m doing this both by offering my services. But it’s not all about me, I can also point you in the direction of others. I’m also engaging in support networks such as the protative ELSIE Leeds community enterprise network (which is on the lookout for other panel members at the moment).