It is all too easy for enterprise professionals (especially the planners and strategists) to see what a comunity ‘needs’ if it is to become more enterprising. More incubators, more managed work-spaces, more training, better supply chains and so on.
However it is much harder to establish what a community ‘wants’. Those things that its members will choose to engage with and use. The wants are often more psychological than material – we want hope, someone to believe in us, someone who can help to make things happen, someone we can believe in.
And as every economic development professional knows – if you give a community what you think it needs – but not what the people who live there want you are heading for trouble.