In the interest of optimizing its efforts to promote economic development, the Swiss city of Aarau commissioned EBP to help it develop an efficient organizational approach and to streamline its internal decision-making procedures.
In the city of Aarau, the Office of Economic Affairs is responsible for promoting economic development. There are also several other organizations in the region that concern themselves with business development. Working separately, the various agencies aim to promote tourism and other forms of business within the city and region. In order to streamline its efforts and better exploit synergies, Aarau aims to take a more holistic approach to economic development and to work out a more suitable organizational framework to manage the relevant tasks.
Developing and assessing organizational models
To assess the existing structures, we began by identifying the main promotional services currently being provided. Working on the basis of specifications issued by the Aarau City Council, we developed three different organizational models to secure efficient service provision, and then examined these models in terms of the following five criteria:
- Leadership and strategy
- External stakeholders
- Internal stakeholders
A meeting with various members of the city council, the city administration and the city planning agency was convened to evaluate the proposed organizational models and to draft decision-making guidelines for the city council.
Promoting the Aarau brand
Using our project report as a basis, the Aarau City Council settled on a new approach to promoting economic development. The changes included a decision to outsource its promotional work to the Aarau Economic Development Association (Verein Aarau Standortmarketing (VAS)). Starting in January 2021, the VAS will promote business development on behalf of the city of Aarau in addition to its current activities centering on enhancing the Aarau brand and promoting tourism throughout the city and region.
Our work on behalf of the city has enabled a merger of promotional activities relating to economic development, tourism and event management. The city of Aarau is now in a position to better coordinate its decision-making processes, exploit available synergies and efficiently enhance its status as an attractive tourist destination and an attractive location in which to invest and conduct business.