BROmotion

I was invited to have a contribution – sounds like make a donation, but it isn’t the case – and comment some topics on the agenda of this European investment forum. Well, I’m not very sure about attending the event, but took the opportunity to express some thoughts, partially reproduced below. Somehow, it seemed quite a prudent foot in the door of blogging here.

I believe that an agenda curriculum structured around the overall 3 conferences approach would allow consistency and coherence to manifest in a holistic manner, sketching also a pragmatic vision and inspirational contributions.

RATIONALE

The world, its systems i.e. social, economic, financial, political, technological ones, a.s.o. are experiencing unprecedently demanding mutations, voire spectacular. Obviously Europe is part of the game with specific SWOT vectors. EU after Lisbon – Treaty adoption and strategy – is still thriving to emerge from a so-called financial crisis, which has the merit of uncovering multiple unbalances, latent tensions and totally inefficient mechanisms, revealing la dolce vita of pretending and wishful thinking in a convenient, to often cosmetized reality.

Financial turmoil is far for being a cause and a plethora of associated effects is crowding to assist in formulating the right questions.

In setting up the scene, European Community has now a new team, new rules, a fresh strategy 2020 and a momentum to build upon. Subsequently an operational framework and appropriate instruments exist; it is just a question of establishing the right priorities, assuming decisive decisions, allocating resources and ensuring real functionality between various components. It’s so simple, like in any SME Business Plan, n’est-ce pas?

CRITICA

My expertise as management consultant based in Bruxelles, running an independent consultancy active in 4 areas:

1. European Affairs

  • Lobby & Advocacy, Representation and Liaison office sur Bruxelles
  • Accredited lobbyist to European Parliament and European Commission

2. EU programmes expert assistance

  • EU funding opportunities screening, accessing and assessment, including Structural Funds for Romania
  • European programmes / projects evaluation
  • Romanian works and services tenders participating and facilitation

3. Management consultancy and business support

  • Business planning, durable strategy development, competitiveness enhancing, entrepreneurial leveraging, business and financial modelling, investment and relocation schemes
  • Belgian Guichet d’Entreprises – EUNOMIA Entry Point

4. Project management

  • Public and private, commercial-oriented and non-profit endeavours: concept, design, application writing, holistic assessment, specific evaluation, quality management, audit, PPPs
  • Standardized approach based upon the correct mix of PMI/PMBOK, PRINCE2, BS 6079, ISO 10006
  • High added-value, interdisciplinary, cross-cultural projects focusing on CIP, EE/RES – green energy concept, entrepreneurship, SMEs, rural and regional durable development, RTDI – FP7, ITC, HR and organizational culture, CSR
  • Events producing – design, landscaping, happenings
  • EMotion artelier – contemporary art gallery located in Petit Sablon, Bxl

allows me to have a privileged, holistic, multilateral view upon European environment actions and ambience. A quick assessment would outline 3 categories of pitfalls in relation with general or specific EU functional modus operandi:

1. Institutional, politics, administration

a. Political leadership and commitment

b. Insufficient coordination at EU, national, regional, local levels

c. Regulatory mechanisms and disharmonious positions

2. European programmes and funding

a. Complicated, time consuming procedures for allocating European money

b. Rigid, often inappropriate methodology for managing and evaluating efficiency of EU programmes

c. Scarce flexibility and adaptability of EU programmes architecture

3. Entrepreneurial and business support

a. Generalized formalism, inefficient spending, low capacity to grasp the real issues of SMEs, limited ability to comprehend inter-sectoral relationships and approaches

b. Miming of genuine professionalism with little respect for results-, business-oriented attitude , methods, planning or initiatives

c. Slow translation of knowledge, innovation and creativity into viable business cases, less competitive in comparison with concurrent regions e.g. SUA, Asia

As a general observation, Europe is lagging behind in capacity to create new businesses and rapidly adapt to market opportunities. Two main causes might be identified:

A. Insufficient capacity of business entrepreneurial environment to formulate and implement pragmatic hands-on, truly professional and competitive Business Plans, innovative business/financial models or durable development strategies

B. Limited competencies and interest of public administration, of some financial institutions, other donors and stakeholders in perpetually recognizing opportunities, promoting veritable entrepreneurship, understanding and supporting viable business concepts/cases. D’ailleurs, too often distinctively performant business plans are not judged properly and priority is given to more traditional ventures, evoking risk as decisive argument for disqualifying suspect initiatives. In fact, it is utterly a manner of non combat due to knowledge hiatus, inability to perceive inter-sectoral liaisons or the good old convenient formalism.

CONTRIBUTION

Considering La Baule WIC 2010 theme and its 3 well-articulated conferences and topics, I’d fancy nevertheless the idea of clustering my comments in a slightly different way.

Firstly I’d love to see some of the issues I’ve already risen, taken into account and by all means addressed.

Eventually I’d summarise some related observations:

– Paradigm shifting approach should be extended from Climate Change, Efficient Energy and Renewables to general philosophy of designing, planning, implementing and evaluating programmes, ventures, including investment endeavours. Greening the economy should not be considered as a nice politically correct goal, but as prerequisite for rethinking entire systems

– The financial crisis as a real opportunity would represent also vital reason for rethinking human relationships and activities, for generating new balances, businesses and brand new inspiration, stimulus even for huge actors such as multinationals, corporations capable of and supposed to set up new patterns in financial investment trends

– Consequently, innovative business and financial models would represent a reasonable strategic focus facilitating necessary mutations in change/risk management

– Bold orientation towards future vaults shall be balanced with essential return to basics in coherently related areas: leadership and management, social and economic role of financial institutions – banks, marketing and decent customer satisfaction, organizational culture and HR efficiency, authentic added-value creation

– Attractiveness of Europe crucially depends on its positioning, by benefiting from undisputable fortes: history, tradition, specific knowledge, certain quality of living, reasoning or acting, etc. Obviously, some fields could assume lead posture e.g. knowledge-based and green economy, bio-agriculture, sustainable tourism, education, LLL, training and un certain savoir-vivre

– Geographical predisposition would recommend emerging markets situated in Central, East or South of Europe such as: Romania, ex-Yugoslavian space, etc., regions with huge potential for accommodating investment, synergies and creativity

At the end of the day, I believe that at present what is less relevant and how becomes the central methodological gizmo. Incidentally, trust modelling and performant durable business planning could illustrate the concept of mens sana in corpore sano.

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