Developing a Best Practice Framework
There has been a notable increase in communities and economic development taking on board the government and research messages about the importance of self-reliance. This message has been evident and obvious in government policy, statements and reports since the early 1980s and people in regional development policy and practitioner communities have also noted the problems with high dependency on external investment. The need to provide policy certainty and consistency whilst promoting and embracing change and inviting emotional connections with citizens is a significant policy challenge. Regional Solutions Framework is a response to this challenge.
What is the Regional Solutions Framework?
It is intended to respond to these increasingly urgent regional aspirations by demonstrating the value of “design thinking” and “lean startup” as techniques that address many of the current issues in regional development theory and practice and responds to the cutting edge theories for future action.
Regional Solutions Framework is a principle based approach for regions to use when developing new projects. It is principle based in recognition that ‘no one size fits all’ and that there is ‘no single best practice’ in regional development.
Each region must apply different practices based on different priorities, changing economic landscapes and differing organisational strategies and institutional arrangements, informed by underlying principles.
The advantage of a principles based approach is that the principles can be applied within the combination of factors that involves strategies, operations and scale as determined by the stage of development of the project. The key is to combine the principles and techniques to reflect the regional culture and immediate and future challenges.
A principles based approach is agile and dynamic - it can respond to changes in internal and external influences such as legislation, community expectations, funding arrangement.
Regional development involves multiple players from multiple disciplines in highly contested and complex environments with limited resources and entrenched systems of response. Regional development requires shared responsibility, joint action and freedom from traditional constraints to achieve change. The Regional Solutions Framework is an approach that can deliver regional development despite, or because of, these paradoxes. It is a fusion of policy and place to recapture the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Regional Australia.
Wicked Project Problems
Today, more than ever before regional communities are faced with an increasing array of ‘wicked problems’. Major projects often raise a mixture of challenging and difficult issues such as:
- Funding shortfalls;
- Lack of community support;
- Increasing burden of recurring costs;
- Unintended social problems;
- Conflicting outcomes;
- Lost opportunity.
"The Regional Solutions Framework is a practical response to these very real local challenges."