On the 18th & 19th January, Knysna & Partners hosted an open invitation strategy workshop at Villa Castolini, the well known Tuscan-styled guesthouse positioned high above the sweeping Knysna Estuary. The key objective of the workshop was to give stakeholders from various sectors of the Greater Knysna area the opportunity to participate in designing the ideal system to market the Greater Knysna going forward as a destination of choice for desired target markets.
The workshop was facilitated by Professor Roy Marcus and Dee Marcus from The Collaboratory, who expertly guided the participants through an analytical Systems and Design Thinking process over the course of the two days. During this time key issues pertaining to the organisation were addressed and the various stakeholders were given a constructive platform from which to voice their opinions, grievances and hopes for the future of destination Knysna.
Together with their American colleagues from the Ackoff Collaboratory at the University of Pennsilvania, Roy and Dee have developed a program of Systems and Design Thinking which has been successfully applied to both private and public institutions around the world. According to the Ackoff website, their “Design Thinking approach is firmly rooted in the Ackoff philosophy which recognises that it is no longer acceptable for organisations to use a top-down approach, but instead the whole organisation needs to be included in the design process. The psychological impact is then one in which the whole organisation takes full ownership of the new direction.”
Those is attendance included staff and members of Knysna & Partners, diverse tourism service providers, accommodation establishment owners and various representatives from the Knysna Municipality, including the Executive Mayor of Knysna, Eleanore Bouw-Spies.
The trend of business, who do not perceive themselves as being in tourism, not attending the workshop was once again evident, with participation being heavily skewed once again towards tourism. Marketing a destination goes beyond the tourism sector and this ideal design systems approach provided the opportunity for businesses representing other sectors of our economy to give input into the destination marketing process.