In 2018, Calgary City Council unanimously approved Calgary’s economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy. The strategy was well received but presented as a lengthy report that was difficult to read, catering only to a limited audience. Only a few years later, Calgary was faced with a new economic landscape shaped by the global disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, a shift in the energy sector and a renewed national focus on equity, diversity and inclusion, and Indigenous Reconciliation.
After significant community and stakeholder engagement, Calgary Economic Development updated the economic strategy to be more relevant to the current landscape. The vision for the report was to communicate the economic strategy in more relatable, inclusive language and with engaging visual designs to clearly convey Calgary’s path forward toward economic diversification and an economy that is inclusive and accessible for everyone.
PROJECT PURPOSE AND EFFECTIVENESS
Prior to creating the report design, the strategy was pressure tested in 2021 to ensure Calgary is on a relevant, future-focused path to long-term economic prosperity.
We engaged over 720 community members and businesses from across Calgary through over 400 hours with an online survey, open houses and focus groups to understand their perspectives on the importance and resiliency of the strategy and whether the priorities represented the new direction of Calgary’s future.
The revised strategy focuses on five drivers of Calgary’s economy: talent, innovation, livability, business environment and brand. It also sets out an ambitious vision where Calgary is the place where bright minds and big ideas come together with an unmatched spirit to help solve global challenges.
In addition to an updated framework to the 2018 strategy, the new report is visually reflective of Calgary’s diverse community and more digestible to a general audience.
A challenge of producing this strategy was sticking to our original timelines while we incorporated input from a large number of passionate community stakeholders.
Another challenge was determining how to present a significant amount of information in a simple and engaging manner. Incorporating the matrix to cohesively illustrate the transformational initiatives paired with the drivers was one way of accomplishing this.
As the key goal in the strategy’s report is inclusivity and accessibility for all, this strategy report is targeted to key community members, local businesses, business and economic leaders and City of Calgary employees.
The visual design utilizes bold and bright colours, fonts, textures that are targeted towards a younger audience between the ages 25 to 30.
Going forward, Calgary in the New Economy, will be a living strategy for the whole Calgary community where we will look for residents to continuously provide input and feedback to keep it relevant, adaptable, and nimble to our rapidly changing world and city.
As a community-built and driven strategy, we will work closely with civic partners, community organizations, businesses, the Indigenous communities in and around Calgary, and equity-deserving communities to achieve the priorities set out in the strategy.