2018 Vanguard - the next steps


Following on from the passion, enthusiasm and desire to effect meaningful positive change in the region in 2017 this year is about using all the effort our Vanguardees put in during phase 1 to make great things happen in the region that, without Vanguard, would not.   

Below you will see the notes from each of the five topics discussed at the Bos’n event earlier in the year:

  • Food & Drink - Developing a brand and activities that can drive awareness and sales of local produce while using our provenance as a hook for related tourism

Main focus:

  • Establish North-east Scotland as a region to attract people to the locally caught, bred, quality food
  • Creation of a brand or marque
  • ‘Buy local’ scheme highlighting local shops and restaurants stocking regional produce
  • Research the process of establishing a Michelin Star restaurant in the region
  • City Centre - Injecting pace into existing plans/activities and further developing the Union Street proposals/brand

Main focus:

  • Develop a ‘Wish you were here’ campaign to attract companies to relocate to the city centre
  • Assist Aberdeen Inspired in the development of ‘Alive after Five’
  • Investigate what role the group could play in the city centre masterplan
  • Get the go ahead to close Union Street / surrounding area for 2 months
  • 8 key events and fringe events – during 2020
  • Build long term legacy for the city centre
  • Tourism - Taking forward elements of the proposals, campaign to get local people to become tourists in their own area (improved What’s On listing: ‘Happening Aberdeen’?) and creating a package to attract the millennial weekend audience

Main focus:

  • Work with the Visit Aberdeenshire team to test potential brand propositions
  • Create a proposition and messaging to communicate to UK millennials that Aberdeen is happening and a must-visit destination
  • Change perception of the region among residents. Create a campaign to let local people know what’s on their own doorstep so they can experience and shout about it.
  • Research the process of establishing a Michelin Star restaurant in the region as the centrepiece of a new food tourism-based offer
  • Build a more cohesive show window for what’s happening in the area – App/ website/ partnership with media?
  • Identify and be part of the process of creating a new tourism attraction
  • Consider the process for and benefit of achieving UNESCO status for an existing regional attraction
  • Regional Narrative - Talking up the area including talent attraction/retention encompassing (#clusterculture) & ‘cool place’

Main focus:

  • Coordinate an ‘audit’ of the materials and collateral currently being used to promote the region
  • Propose a method to create a shared platform to identify, collate and share a library of positive external media coverage of the region
  • Work with the Chamber and regional narrative steering group to deliver the project plan; specifically validating and adding to the library of key facts
  • Provide project support as required should the #clusterculture life sciences pilot scheme receive funding from ONE & SDS
  • Improve average positivity per person on image of Aberdeen by creating a movement with momentum
  • Mystery

Main focus:

  • To have a foundation for all the other groups and have a red thread between them all. A building block for others to sit on.

After reviewing the notes was it was to move forward with three main project themes during 2018:

  1. Tourism – Led by Chris Foy, Chief Executive of Visit Aberdeenshire.
  2. City Centre – Led by Adrian Watson, Chief Executive at Aberdeen Inspired.
  3. Regional Narrative – Led by Russell Borthwick, Chief Executive AGCC.

Key dates for 2018

Upate event: Tuesday, July 24

                       5:30pm to 8:30pm

Designing the Future of Energy Cities: Wednesday, October 3

                                                                   8:30am to 12pm


2017 Conference

Route to Renaissance - a Vanguard Conference

Route to Renaissance
A Vanguard conference designing the future of our region
There is a cohesive plan in place and progress is underway to reinvent the future economy of North-east Scotland to ensure we become a renaissance region, not a museum to what was once Europe’s oil and gas capital.

However, if we are to achieve our ambition it will take a collective effort and is everyone’s responsibility to do their bit to shape the future.

We recruited a group of around 100 people including future leaders who had passion, ideas and wanted to play their part in designing the future….but felt that they had no opportunity to do so.

This is our attempt to provide a platform for them to do just that. The Vanguard Legacy project teams have brought incredible energy, passion and fresh thinking to how we can progress the following key challenges:

  1. What will it take to get this region on the map as a serious European short break destination and what iconic attraction would help us to achieve this?
  2. How could a world class events programme in the region drive in-bound tourism as well as making this an even better place to live and what might this look like?
  3. How do we make sure we retain graduates and our very best talent in the North-east?
  4. What would be required to make sure any future capital/city of culture bid was successful?
  5. How do we make Aberdeen a ‘cool’ place for residents, students and visitors?
  6. North-east Scotland is already Scotland’s capital for food and drink production; how do we bring this to life for local consumers and visitors
  7. What will it take to make the people of the area fall back in love with Union Street?
  8. How can we build on the success of Buy North-east to promote a culture of local procurement?

At the Vangaurd Conference on December 5, 2017, each of the groups had 15 minutes to pitch their game-changing ideas to the audience including senior business leaders, politicians and investors.

Our keynote speakers for the day were:

Adrian Webster.  Adrian is one of the most entertaining and effective motivational speakers in the UK today. Riot police officer, milkman and salesman were just a few of the entries on his CV before he moved into the I.T industry and discovered an ability to motivate others.
He knows how to inspire people to be extraordinary and offers practical take-away tools mixed in with his humorous, impactful, engaging and down to earth presentation style.

Jennifer Craw, chief executive, Opportunity North East who will update delegates on the plans for sector diversification and progress of City Region Deal-related activities. 

Lindley Kirkpatrick, Borders Railway programme executive at ScotRail, who spoke about maximising the impact of the new railway, working with local authorities and the other members of the Borders Railway Blueprint Partnership.