To Prosperity and Beyond! Unlocking Health, Wealth and Happiness for Guernsey A report by John Clacy, Vice Chair of the IoD Guernsey Branch.
Guernsey IOD committee Vice Chair, John Clacy reflects on the 2016 annual convention and what Guernsey needs to do to achieve health, wealth and happiness.
The convention struck a different note this year as it shook off its traditional approach to focus on Next Generation Guernsey and the route to happiness, wealth and prosperity.
The evening opened with a film clip with a twist - https://t.co/ERIUk588hU - which asked the audience to look at the future from a different perspective. Change expert Jonathan Macdonald took to the stage to challenge the audience over what they could do personally to help Guernsey succeed in a world which is changing with increased speed. He reminded the audience of Guernsey's key role at the start of the Information Age, with one of the world’s first functioning post boxes and urged the audience to embrace innovation and change.
Deputy Gavin St Pier then introduced a Guernsey perspective by showcasing the States of Guernsey 20 year vision - urging personal accountability and collaboration between government industry and the third sector.
Alastair Stewart then expertly compered the panel – Gavin St Pier, Peter Ferbrache, Meriel Lenfestey, Martyn Dorey and Chris Atkinson. The debate was refreshing in its positivity and the confidence shared by the panellists. There was consensus that Guernsey was in a very enviable position but that we need to fight against complacency and using Guernsey uniqueness ensure the island embraces the opportunities on the horizon.
Among the topics debated were the opportunity to shake up education with lifelong learning credits and the introduction of unconventional subjects and methods as the syllabus is revised. There was frustration shown at the apparently impasse at Education but also a willingness to help partner with government to deliver world class education.
Chris Atkinson cited his experience in Singapore to illustrate what joined up government and industry could achieve and he urged the focus to be on travel, infrastructure and education, while
Peter Ferbrache reassured the IoD that travel links were government’s top priority and he was confident changes would be on their way.
Meriel, a successful designer and entrepreneur, noted the wealth of creative talent on the island and the need to continue to nurture young talent and ensure that collaboration between schools and industry delivers what the island needs rather than being stuck in traditional methods. Martyn noted the success he was having in using global connectivity in reaching new markets. This has allowed his business to grow and to use methods once reserved for high tech hubs such as California.
A specialist university, health tourism, a driverless car 'testbed' island, data parks and other ideas were also hotly debated.
As the evening drew to a close it was clear that there was the energy and vision to continue Guernsey's pathway to happiness, Heath and prosperity and the IoD will be continue to encourage and lobby not just government but individuals and businesses so Guernsey becomes a place our children wish to make their home.
What do we need to do to get there? Here are a few thoughts:
We need to ensure our transport links are the best they can be, publicly funded if necessary. We should strive for world class education to maximise the potential of our limited population by partnering education provision with business and the third sector and embracing lifelong learning and a creative curriculum.
Further, Guernsey must ensure that its communications infrastructure allows it competitive global access, encourage and communicate entrepreneurial thinking and continue to exercise flexible but robust regulation while attracting new talent and business.
Above all, the vision expounded at the IOD convention will only work with the committed collaboration of all parties and through key individuals personally getting behind it.