Setting up your strategy

In our first module we lay out the basic principles and ingredients for collaborative urban transformation. We dive into our 7-layered model and step by step explain how to use this for your own strategy – and translate it into actionable workflows for your team and organisation. We combine high-level strategic advice and practical illustrations and tips and tricks.

What do you learn?
> profound understanding of the complex and unpredictable dynamics of transformation areas
> profound understanding of the consequences of dispersed property and complex stakeholder situations
> make a lean and mean analysis of your area while building the first stakeholder relations
> set up an integral strategy for your own area, using our 7-layer model
> translate your strategy into actionable year plans while staying adaptive over time
> build your team with the necessary expertise and soft skills
> set up your team so that it can evolve into an independent organisation
> structurally engage the different departments of your own organisation
> insights, considerations and soft skills to get your project going with positive energy and progress

What do you get?
> 12 video-chapters (total ca 2,5 hours of content)
> all video is on-demand, so you can replay and keep content as a reference book
> follow on your own pace or use one of our program templates incl assignments: steady, speedy or pressure cooker
> download 1: checklist local analysis
> download 2: project outline canvas
> download 3: manual workshop ‘from analysis to strategy’
> download 4: 7-layered model strategy canvas
> download 5: checklist ‘ready to start’
> 1 hour of (online) live individual Q&A!

You get one personal login. In case you like more logins for your team or organisation, please contact us for a quotation.

! Make sure you profit from our special introduction price: now only € 750,- ex VAT p.p. !

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Course Content

In this chapter we introduce the topic of this module, make a first sketch of the context and explain the contents of the module. Including 3 templates with suggested timelines & assignments for your optimal learning experience.
How we approach an urban transformation challenge strongly depends on how the ownership in the area is distributed. Many urban areas have a complex and dispersed ownership situation. Acquiring all land and real estate here is too complicated and often too risky financially, but without the centralised ownership you depend on others to engage, take action and invest. This gives you less control over the exact outcomes and timelines of the urban transformation. How do you connect and mobilise all different actors, perspectives and interests to achieve substantial results?
Due to all complexities and unpredictabilities in urban transformation, we cannot design a final image and superimpose it on the existing situation. We need to design the entire transformation over time, incorporating a high level of adaptivity to different future scenarios. Our 7-layer model helps you to build this integral and ongoing urban strategy by structuring and connecting all your activities for maximum leverage and impact on the short, middle and long term. In this chapter we dive into the model and illustrate elaborately how it worked in our own projects.
After having sketched the context, we will move to really setting up your own project in this chapter. Like in any other urban development project, we start with a proper analysis. In this chapter we walk you through the topics and dynamics you need to address in your analysis. We share tips on how to really immerse yourself in the area and be sensitive to what is really going on there. We also help you to cluster your findings in a way they help you to later derive a targeted strategy from them. Including a checklist for your own local analysis.
How do you make sure you keep your analysis a bit quick and dirty, preventing yourself from staying in the analytical comfort zone behind your own desk too long? We share tips and tricks to really go out there and cleverly combine your analysis with your first local relation building activities. This is also where you lay the basis for the collective ownership among stakeholders that is needed for successful urban transformation. We also help you to synthesise and prioritise your findings so you can make a smooth shift from analysis to strategy. Including a project outline canvas.
Once you’ve created the basic context and outlines for your project, you can start to set up your strategy. With our 7-layer model you can structure all your activities into one integral and ongoing strategy. We explain how the model was built up and show you step by step how you can use it to build your own locally specific strategy by fore- and backcasting between your future goals and the current situation. We show how to define your key steppingstones for the short, middle and long term and then sketch a fluent and incremental process that builds up over the years. Including a workshop manual ‘from analysis to strategy’ and our 7-layered model strategy canvas.
As you’ve got your strategy more or less set up, you can start to finetune the action plan for the first year. The rest does not have to be worked out in detail yet, as you will do that later once you can evaluate the first results and feedback. We discuss how the local specificities and the economic situation may influence how big or small your first steps may be. We take you through this action plan step by step, also illustrating in detail how we did this in our Amsterdam field lab and what did and did not work there.
In urban transformation you probably need a team that has slightly different (hard and soft) skills than in traditional, more linear processes. Given the complex stakeholder web, you as one organisation have less direct mandate and power over the process. Your job here is more about activating, inspiring, moderating and facilitating. Collaborative urban development is essentially about co-production. We walk you through the skills you need and give practical tips about the size and mandate of the team and its distance from the internal organisation it may come from.
As your project evolves and you have more in-depth meetings and workshops with the different stakeholders with increasingly serious topics on the agenda, you may want to evolve into a more independent local organisation. There will probably be more commitment and budget from the other stakeholders by then, given their interest in these serious topics. How do you make this shift and what do you need to keep in mind here, both regarding budget, mandate and autonomy and also regarding name, tone of voice and (visual) identity?
In an existing urban situation with many existing owners and stakeholders, the first initiative towards transformation can come from many directions. It can come from the local government, one or more prominent real estate owners or housing corporations or a local organisation. Or it can come from an urban curator, an independent professional who adopts and commits to the local challenge as a project. Whoever takes the first step, at one point they will all meet each other to explore collaboration. What can we learn from the role of the urban curator?
How to embed a collaborative urban development project in your own organisation, is an interesting question. On the one hand you need a lean and mean team with enough autonomy and independence to make connections with the different stakeholders and find the overlaps and alignments in different interests. On the other hand the team needs enough internal mandate and buy-in to achieve real decision-making and adequate follow-ups on the different overlaps and alignments identified. We discuss the notions of insititutioning and of the intrapreneur and we illustrate these with some examples from our own practice.

In this module we’ve talked about a lot of things that can be understood as preparations. Mapping and analysing the local situation, setting up your strategy, building your team and aligning your organisation. This is all very important of course, but the only way to really achieve any results in the area is to do stuff and to make sure you keep going. Go out, feel the area, talk with as many different people as possible and test and adjust your assumptions and ideas by real action. We share some crucial insights and advise from our own practice to set you up for action and to help you find a positive flow in your own work and in the area. Including a checklist to make sure you are ready to start.

Setting up your strategy | Transformcity