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Solace blog

8th June 2017

Dodo birds win in a post-salami world

We’ve all been there [haven’t we?]: dinner parties, get-togethers, aperitifs… Inevitably, no matter how many nibbles get shared around at a time, eventually, there’s always one last piece of salami on the smorgasbord of antipasti waiting to be devoured.

Who is going to take it?

I suspect there has been many an exec team, since the SOLACE 2012 publication ‘When the salami’s gone’ in a similar position – each director looking longingly at the last slice, hoping for some succor from the remaining offcuts.

But, as my frequent marketing emails from Majestic Wine tell me when it’s gone, it’s gone [WIGIG]! Many councils are firmly in an outsourced, shared serviced, restructured, risk shared, joint venturing, income-generating post salami world, but what next?

Well, I think Lewis Carol may have the answer – or at least the framework to help us find our own solutions. In Alice in Wonderland’s Caucus Race, the Dodo Bird decided to issue a competition: all the wet characters were to run around the lake until they were dry. Nobody cared to measure how far each person had run, nor how long. When they asked the Dodo who had won, he thought long and hard and then said, “Everybody has won and all must have prizes.”

It’s a metaphorical reminder, of what is, and what is not important. I suspect if the Caucus had been replaced by a council, there would only have been one winner- or maybe none at all! How many of our contracts, SLA’s, and other agreements still focus on how far and how long?

The Caucus focused on the outcome. Everyone got dry. Everyone won. It wasn’t the input but the result. The clever bit is finding an outcome that everyone wants to achieve.

In Thanet, for many years, we’ve been working with eight private and public sector partners as part of the Kent Contemporary Tourism campaign. Many of you will have seen the scores of glorious M&C Saatchi adverts on transvision screens and barriers across London. None of us could have afforded, or even contemplated a campaign on that scale alone. But working together, at scale, sharing ideas, raising the bar of ambition and, most of all, focusing on the common outcomes of increased visitor numbers and spend, we’ve delivered a great campaign. No-one really cares which size of image was used, or which specific hoarding or screen they were displayed on. The images have empirical data supporting their attractiveness to tourists, and each partner put in a fraction of the cost of the campaign. Last year’s campaign delivered a return on investment of 22:1, reached 6.7 million people, and 1 in 4
people visiting Kent did so because of the campaign.

Too good to be true? Well, have a look around London and see what you think? Maybe this is part of the reason why Thanet is the fastest growing tourism destination in the UK?

The Innovation and Commissioning group will be producing more examples of innovation and good practice via blogs and publications over the next year. So if you have any case studies or top tips that you would like us to share, please get in touch via

Now, …where’s that last slice of salami gone?

By Rob Kenyon, Director of Community Services, Thanet District Council and Solace Deputy Spokesperson, Innovation and Commissioning