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Conversazione with the Government of Iceland, 2007
Conversazione with the Government of Iceland, 2007

Simon Anholt’s advisory programme for Competitive Identity usually involves three to five visits to the country, city or region over a period of 6-12 months. Each visit includes one or two principal workshops – known as conversazioni – plus a series of shorter meetings with smaller groups and individuals.

The conversazione is an informal, high level strategy and policy workshop. The attendees are ‘cabinet-plus’: usually Prime Minister and cabinet; top decision-makers from trade; tourism; culture / heritage / sport; economic affairs; education; CEOs of major corporations, and civil and religious leaders. In many cases, the Head of State plays a key role in the Competitive Identity process, and is often the natural champion of the process.

A second conversazione is usually held during each visit, involving a larger Reference Group. This group represents the widest possible spread of government, diplomacy, finance, innovation, civil service, industry, education, the arts, academia, research, science, sport, media, civil society, immigrants, entrepreneurs, the voluntary sector, religion, agriculture, tourism, transport and business.

Other smaller meetings in each visit are typically with the Head of State and any other ministers of state who are not able to guarantee regular attendance in the conversazioni; intellectuals, writers and academics; journalists and media owners; representatives of other cities and regions; prominent foreigners living in the country or city; diplomats; students and young entrepreneurs; trade union representatives, agricultural and industrial workers; and so on.

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