Formed in 2007 Festivals Edinburgh is a strategic umbrella organisation focused on over-arching areas of mutual interest for Edinburgh's Festivals. Its sole focus is to maintain the Festivals’ and the Festival City’s global competitive edge via major collaborative projects and strategic initiatives.
The first Business Plan ran from 2008-14, with the current Plan initiated in 2014 for a five year period. The following graphic illustrates our current mission, objectives and strategic priorities:
Our Board tends to meet every 6-8 weeks, with working groups generally planned to take place in the weeks leading up to the Board meeting in order to ensure an effective reporting process. These working groups are formed to drive forward key aspects of our strategic operation and as such they are chaired by a member of the Board while having representation from each of the festivals. The Festivals Edinburgh team is split across these working groups and acts as both operational secretariat and strategic enabler.
The main changes from the first Business Plan have been the adoption of Knowledge Sharing Fora for staff, allowing for a more free-flowing form of collaboration, and an increase in the number of Priorities from 4 to 7 - with the original four prioritiies being Programming, Marketing, Environment and Innovation. The current seven Priorities are examined in greater detail in the following graphic:
It is the role of the working groups and the senior team at Festivals Edinburgh to develop and deliver collaborative projects and initiatives within these strategic priorities - with the Board being the main decision-making body to which all recommendations are brought. The process by which collaborative projecrs are developed is outlined below:
In this process, initial ideas [Future Gaze] are brought to the Board for their consideration, at which point the Board says one of two things - yes, proceed with the thinking, or no, stop this work. If the Board say yes, we usually commission some research - either internal or external - in the knowledge that effective projects have a strong evidential base. We would also at this point bring it in to the agenda of an existing working group or, should an appropriate group not exist, form such a group - possibly a time-limited pop-up group.
Such a group then has responsibility for the development of strategy, with the resulting strategic plan brought to the Board for their consideration. At this point, the Board can say one of three things - yes, proceed with the thinking; no, stop this work; or revise the current thinking, at which point we go in to an iterative process [as indicated in the graphic above]. If the Board says yes, the group develops an action plan which again is brought to the Board for approval - at which point the Board has the same three options as before.
Once the Board finally agrees to the delivery of a programme of work it is the responsibility of Festivals Edinburgh to find the funding to make it happen, from whatever source - public, private or third sector - is appropriate. However rather than waiting until the end of the research and development process to find the funding, we explore funding opportunities from the very outset of the process - meaning that we are in a position to move fast once the Board gives the green light.