OP Flagship & Cluster follow-up meetings (January 2005)
The Okanagan Partnership completed its first regional collaborative strategy for sustainable prosperity in the June of 2004 and at that point launched implementation. The completion of the strategy and its launch coincides with a unique period of opportunity for the region. This period is one of new growth in economic development potential and readiness to collaborate regionally. The citizens of the region’s communities, businesses, municipalities, economic development districts, chambers, associations, agencies and institutions are increasingly embracing the fundamental need to think and work regionally to ensure that the Okanagan Valley achieves sustainable prosperity together. And, this readiness is being fostered and reinforced by the profound economic opportunity that corresponds with the designation of the former OUC as a flagship campus of the University of British Columbia. With this exciting period of change as the backdrop, the stage is now set for regional stakeholders to continue to put to work the principles of collaboration with which they are becoming more comfortable. Accomplishing this will not be without difficulty, since continuous learning and change is required across the board. But the prospects are exciting and concentrating on carrying out incremental steps will reap strong near-and longer-term rewards for the Okanagan Valley.
The majority of the regional flagship initiatives have made constructive, incremental progress. There has been a high degree of openness and readiness to collaborate demonstrated, signifying the readiness of the Okanagan to craft its next generation economy—from the expansion of UBC-O to regional growth to rising capital availability for enterprise. Flagships that have advanced have clear leaders and institutional partners. Sustaining this momentum should be also viewed as a fundamental feature of how the region works. There will need to be management support for some Flagships and access to seed funding for others. But the good news is that fundamental principle of “using existing resources in new ways” has been effectively adopted by partners in the collaborative process. A brief summary of the actions and needs of Flagships is provided below.