Connecting Tartu

We had a first meeting today to start up a project. It is called “connecting Tartu”. We will be trying to build a network of folks who are interested in Tartu as a locality. At first, that means getting some information flow going about what is going on here that folks outside of Estonia might be interested in.

Lots of fun! I will be updating how this goes on this blog just to keep you advised on what we learn. I can say that the first meeting was fun and the cappuccino at Werner, first rate.

Using WordPress a New Way

One of the more challenging things we do in life is to build groups around things that need to get done. Some of us are good at this. They are “organizers”. They love nothing more than getting people together for events, parties, whatever. But most of us don’t list that as our main strength.

And yet we need to get better at it these days. Why? Because if we don’t form groups around what we like to do, we will be put into groups whether we like it or not. Create an agenda or someone else will give you one. This is the second big area in my “Take Five” model. It is where you take your individual skills sets and use them to build focus in groups. The idea is to move groups to the next steps.

So let’s assume you have a project idea. Like, for example, getting more tourists to come to the city of Tartu (where I happen to live). It is a great idea. Tartu business needs the added revenue. And there are groups of people who might want to visit (including Scandinavians and Russians and other Balts). So what do we do?

In the old days, you would hire a marketing consultant who would — for a hefty fee — put together a project idea for you. Can’t we do that ourselves_ We can … if we can assemble the needed talent around our project.

Here is the good news! Hooray! We know that this works in 2 stages.

The first stage is to create the core team. The folks here have to be able to do the basic stuff needed to get done. So in my example, I would need (1) a person who wants to gather stories about what is happening in Tartu and tell those stories (like a journalist) (2) a person who can get that content placed in digital media so that our target groups start to see it (like a marketing geek), and (3) a person who can get local partners in Tartu excited about telling their stories and supporting the development of the information flow (like a business development guy or gal). So, I am on the lookout for a person who can do all or at least some of the above. And if I find a person or persons who can do this stuff, I have completed stage 1. Hooray!

The second stage starts when I have the above areas covered. Then I need a way to get my group moving. In the old days, we might use “project management” tools – BORING! These days, WordPress works just fine and indeed better. I am developing processes that energize wordpress blogs into project development and tracking tools. and it is fun. And the key idea is that folks need to SEE next steps before they can do them. Then, once they have done that next step, they need credit for it.

More on this as I go!

Oh. I forgot to mention. You can take your WP blogs with you on your IPad with the WP app – free at the App Store. Pretty cool.

Locality – What Does Your Town Offer?

A while ago, I got interested in the idea that people who live in a given place can do stuff to make that place more vibrant. That may not matter so much if you live in New York or Silicon Valley. But it does matter when you live in a place that is not a center of attention. After completing my thread, I thought some more. And I realized that I need to get more concrete.

So here I go! I will need to hold onto my hat here. I will be working on two projects this year to see if we can make Tartu, Estonia a more vibrant location. For those of you who don’t already know, that is where I live.

Here are the two projects. First, I will be working to attract more visitors to Tartu. Yes, tourists. People who would like to visit for the weekend or a bit longer. And btw, here is a link to a local news story (in Estonian) about the relatively dormant Russian tourist trade here. Second, I will be working on a project to assess what types of skills our labor market has and needs over the next period of years. And I will be updating you here about how this goes. I will post on these projects as we go forward, and collect those posts in two categories “Tartu – tourism” and “Tartu – labor market”.

In case you are wondering, these are not areas where I have any world beating expertise. I am not in the hospitality business. Nor am I a labor economist. But I will be talking to a lot of these kinds of people to learn about how to move us forward.

Should be interesting. And I hope you stick around for the ride!