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International strategic workshop/general strategic workshop: final review report (Business product review)


The General Strategy Workshop (GSW) and the International Strategy Workshop (ISW) are delivered to relationship managed companies within Scottish Enterprise’s (SE’s) Strategic Development Intervention Framework. The Products are designed to address market failures by providing intensive support through a workshop session, provided at no cost to the businesses, and to identify the key strategic choices and assist in reaching informed decisions on future strategic direction for the business. The GSW is focused on Designated Relationship Managed (DRM) companies, focusing on client and pipeline growth companies. The ISW uses an identical process to the GSW but is designed to assist businesses to develop a coherent international strategy. It is targeted at SMEs with some experience of trading internationally but no clear strategic approaches to development of their international business. The review aimed to: validate the delivery of the Products against specification; assess the Products’ fitness for purpose; and identify potential for improvement of service and effectiveness of the Products.


The study used the following research methods: consultation with the SE Appraisal and Evaluation Team and senior managers in the SE Products team; a review of relevant information and documentation; and a facilitated discussion amongst the product users and implementation managers.


The Product Review confirmed that the rationale for the Products remained valid and identified high levels of satisfaction with the Products based on anecdotal feedback from participating businesses. Particular strengths of the Products identified include: their flexibility, allowing application to businesses of varying sizes and ages, at key decision points in their evolution; providing an opportunity to conduct a diagnostic review of the business before identifying the extent, duration and form of future support required from SE and others concerned with sustaining and growing the business; and providing a ‘no risk’ environment within which businesses were provided with the time, space and expertise to consider issues important to their long term development. The main weaknesses of the Products related to planning and delivery, including: reliance on a third party supplier to deliver the Products and the potential for variances in the quality and relevance of the expertise provided to structure and facilitate the workshops; and the importance of preparatory investigation and understanding of the business to ensure the relevance of the Products.


The report outlines a number of areas for improvement relating to: selection of participant businesses; delivery; post product evaluation; assessment of scale of provision; and promotion and demonstration. The report recommends that consideration is given to: assessing the potential scale of provision of each Product; making management fully aware of the purpose and content of all potential interventions to address General and International Strategic development; sharing experiences of specific contractors delivering GSW and ISW; post delivery evaluation, with feedback given to all users of the GSW/ISW Products; ensuring all users of the Products are made aware of the potential for SE Delivery of the Products; identifying and costing the support requirements for internal delivery; and content and format of promotional material to convince businesses of the inherent value in the Products.

Author Malcolm Watson Consulting
Published Year 2011
Report Type Research
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses