"The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year."
John Foster Dulles
Across Europe the centres of small and medium sized towns are facing serious challenges. Retailing was the key function that drew people to these places. But we shop differently nowadays. A generation ago the big retailers began to move their businesses out of town centres and to edge of city retail parks.
The seventh annual IC conference will put a focus on how the Baltic Sea Region can become better connected, and consider the adequacy of the EUBSR strategy 2020. There will be experts from various countries and institutions to debate this issue and inform about how they work to make the BSR better connected. We see the planning and launching of new transnational transport corridors, new institutions, new organisations, new cooperations across the BSR and Northern Europe.
ICN partner from the City of Suwalki once again showed how to bring together locals, friends and neighbors with an idea that is as simple as it is brilliant. This time it was not the Blues that brought people together, it was good food and cooking.
Young Eyes is a brand new IC project and will put the focus on how young people regard their home towns. 4 mirror workshops will be implemented with international participation from youth, leaders and experts. The project partners come from Poland, Sweden, Latvia, Scotland and Norway. The project is aiming for creation of new inputs to the home towns development as well as learning for the youths involved.
Did you ever find yourself in a situation like this: You visit a new place and you look for a good restaurant or café, some interesting places or shopping facilities, you start to ask foreigners or google and unfold the city map. If you come to Suwalki for the first time and wonder where to eat or relax skip the map and let Suwalki's mobile tourist guide bring you to the place you are looking for.
IC board members met in Riga for their first get-together of the year. Michael Noren, new chairman of the board from Robertsfors in Sweden gathered his team for intense discussions including a look back and of course rapping up plans for possible future projects.
After the Innovation Circle welcomed Rauna municipality in Latvia as a new network member, we are happy to announce that Dalslandskommunernas Kommunalförbund from Sweden also joined ICN. Förbundschef Christina Svensson talked with us about the strength of her region and the problems it is facing. And she told us why the Kommunalförbund joined the Innovation Circle Network.
For over 30 years EU programmes have supported students so that they can spend some time studying at a university in a different member state. Now a new ERASMUS+ programme opens such mobility opportunities to many others. The kind of youth camps that IC has delivered over several years would seem to be eligible for support. The programme includes Norway.
Recently the Innovation Circle welcomed Rauna municipality in Latvia as a new network member. Evija Zurge, Chairman of Rauna municipality, talked to us about the strength of her region and the problems Rauna is facing. And she told us why the people in Rauna are eager to be an active IC partner.