REGIONAL SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
GAMEPLAN:IMPACT and BDO have collaborated together on purpose-driven business development since 2018. Based on initial successes working with one organization at a time on sustainable transformation, we wondered if we could accelerate, magnify and improve results by providing the platform for organizations to work collaboratively, across industries and silos, for the good of the entire region.
To test our theory, we created the SDG Regional Development Workshop for the Bodø Region in Norway in the summer of 2019. Participating in the program are the Municipality, the local Football Club and twelve of the largest, most influential businesses in the area. Our goal has been to lead and assist the participants in developing and testing effective SDG-based strategies that take into account both the future sustainable issues that the region will face in the next 10-20 years, but also to focus on how participating organizations can transition into being genuine forces for good in their community while increasing revenues and brand following at the same time.
“Tom’s commercially minded approach to sustainability has had a very positive impact on BDO both internally and externally, successfully helping us grow our advisory business in an area of high strategic importance going forward.”
- Morten Thuve, BDO Global Head of Public Sector
The initial results have been overwhelmingly positive. By first establishing a baseline understanding that no matter what business we are in, the issues we will face in the next 10-20 years will impact everyone. Establishing an issues-based dialogue platform at the onset, we are able to coach participants on the fundamentals of how to effectively achieve purpose driven transformation within their organizations. Workshops cover everything from how to re-position your brand to include mission, purpose and results in a credible way, as well as supply chain analysis, marketing and communication, monitoring, reporting and more. Homework assignments in between workshops include actual implementation steps within their organizations, followed by presentation and group discussion of results and challenges at the next workshop session, which take place every 6-8 weeks.
Another key strategic success in this journey has been to leverage the communication power of the local sports team in educating and engaging citizens on important sustainable development issues. Every city in the world that we have met with has the same problem - how to engage their citizens in a meaningful way on the importance of SDG transformation. Our theory is based on the simple idea that to be effective, one must communicate with people in the way that they WANT to be communicated with to be successful. Sports and Entertainment are passion based activities and every city has a main, central sports (or entertainment) organization and venue. These organizations are the perfect vehicle for SDG innovation because they sit at the unique intersection of working closely with government, business (as a communication platform) and are a direct voice to the people. After several months of testing, we can say that this approach is working very well with all parties.
We believe that what we are successfully implementing in Bodø is nothing short of a breakthrough approach for accelerating SDG transformation and are now in the process of expanding the program to include more partners, participants and cities.