When work becomes passion and passion becomes reality / Interview Jacob Bundsgaard, mayor of Aarhus & alderman Marc pera Christensen / Go Green Aarhus 2017 / Theory U / The Yes! Municipality / Godsbanen Trailerpark / Furture Practice- Knowledge & Experiments / Entrepreneurial Portraits /City of ceres : How to build a City / Hope is Green / Aarhus University: Student Incubator / Let's Go Co-Create / Steps toward a Sustainable Future / Green Entrepreneurial portraits / Sustainable Footprint / Eco System /The Thornico Building / Spot a Wealthy Investor
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THE YES! MUNICIPALITY
If you listen to politicians, the media and the zeitgeist, it is evident that entrepreneurship offers a strong opportunity to create a revolution in society. There is massive demand from all sides for start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators. Could a Yes! Municipality be a way of achieving more entrepreneurship?
In the Municipality of Copenhagen’s strategy, ‘Metropolis for People’ there are three overall goals: 1) There should be more life in the city for everyone in the form of a wide range of activities and offers that are aimed at a diverse demographic. 2) More people should visit the city because it is free, healthy and sustainable and simultaneously generates more life in the city. Therefore the city should feel safe, accessible and inviting. 3) More people should stay in the city for longer so we should create opporutunities for experiences, personal development and recreation. Plazas, parks, streets and harbour areas should encourage people to stay longer. In this article we are focusing on the use of the city in both Copenhagen and Aarhus with a desire to support the ideas behind a Yes! Municipality.
FRAMEWORK FOR GROWTH
”It’s about creating the right framework and conditions for growth”, explains Jan Beyer, Director of Business Development in the City of Aarhus. According to him, the Municipalitys´ goal within entrepreneurship is not to dictate development, but rather to offer interested groups the space to develop their dreams. The frame should create a forum where connecctions are made, networks broadened and possible collaborations made visible. No municipal, regional or state funds are pumped into newly established businesses in the Yes! Municipality. The main burden of responsibility still rests upon the innovators themselves but it should be made beneficial, viable and attractive for them to develop their ideas. There should be fair and equal conditions for entrepreneurs in all areas. The foundation should be able to hold up the building in its entirety, it’s no good that the one side receives more support than the other. Development is development. Contents, motives and methods are not interesting as long as there is development.
IN COPENHAGEN THEY ALWAYS SAY YES!
The most important aspect in a Yes! Municipality is of course while processing cases. When entrepreneurs and established companies enter into a dialogue with Copenhagen Municipality, the answer will always be yes. Certain applications will naturally be followed by a number of criteria and requirements but essentially, the answer in the Yes! Municipality will always be Yes!. And the Municipality will always go the extra mile as a service to the citizen or company in question. We have broken away from conventional administrative thinking and moved from being a No Municipality to being a Yes! Municipality. As a rule of thumb we never say no to an application. If for whatever reason we have to say no, which we very rarely do, the case worker has an obligation to indicate what changes must be made to receive a yes so that the project can be realised”, says Hugo Prestegaard, ex chief consultant of ”Gang i København” (tr. Get Copenhagen Going). He believes that caseworkers should always establish the possibility of relaxing the rules to meet others’ wihes. They should offer more experimental permissions for innovative ideas, as these would benefit citizens, businesses and the municipality itself, which needs to develop new rules in tact with new delopments in information. ”Obscure rules have been scrapped and restrictive fees have been abolished. At the same time Copenhagen has got a contact centre that can assist citizens and a business centre that can take care of the business conditions in the Municipality. We have gone from being an authority to being a service. If you say yes to more you get much more in return. The result is that we get 20% more applications each year”, says Hugo Prestegaard. ”Temporariness inspires and motivates the over-all planning. It can generate new life in the city right here and now. As well as creating life, temporary projects can increase interest in an area, which of course generates added value for property owners and investors. This can be a strong argument for encouraging even more people to start up temporary projects”, says Tina Saaby, Copenhagen City Architect. NO. NO. NO. YES? Aarhus Municipality is not yet a Yes! Municipality and there are many areas that could be improved.
SERVICE WORKERS FOR THE PEOPLE
The key to the transition from a No to a Yes! Municipality lies, according to the Director of Business Development in the City of Aarhus Jan Beyer, like a heavy duvet over the Municipality’s 30,000 employees. Jan Beyer believes that we despe-rately need to shake this duvet off. All the Municipality’s employees should work towards promoting the Municipality´s international and external dialogues. Employees must realise that they are the service workers in a project for developing growth. Without all members of staff adopting a service mindset, the Yes! Municipality is not possible.
EVEN UNREALISTIC PLANNING CAN PUSH DEVELOPMENT
Jan Beyer believes that long term visions together with very concrete short term actions pave the way towards transforming the mindset of municipal employees.The Municipality regularly establishes long-term visions. With attractive presentations and long impressive words, the great possibilities and spectacular results are reported. These visions are however, often exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. But vision plans like Erhvervsby i vækst – Danmark i fremdrift 2014-17 (Business city in growth – Denmark in progress 2014-17) can also be used internally to put pressure on development.
READINESS TO ADAPT
According to Bente Steffensen, director of Aarhus Business Network, another tool that clearly has unexploited potential is the ability and will to adapt quickly. Over time unexpected things can suddenly occur and the Municipality would do well to deal with these changes and reap the opportunities that accompany them.
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