Being Imaginative with Robert Govers

Many of us feel uneasy with the lack of recognition that our community, city, region or country receives internationally and with the stereotypes and outdated clichés by which “outsiders” define us. This has probably been the case for as long as man exists, but in today’s world with its global connections and social media, it is becoming more apparent, more relevant and more frustrating; to citizens generally, but in particular to policy makers, public administrators, leaders and representatives in public, private and civil society sectors. Why this is so and what to do about it is the topic of this book. It is the first book to discuss the issue of community reputation in a manner that is accessible to all; free from any use of jargon, management terminology or unnecessary complexity. It argues that for communities to be admired, they need a sense of belonging and purpose in order to do amazing imaginative things befitting their character while captivating others. Imaginative initiatives are recognisably from somewhere and hence cut through the clutter in order to create community profile. The book contains examples from Austin, Barcelona, Bhutan, Den Bosch, Dubai, Egypt, Eindhoven, Estonia, Finland, Firenze (Florence), Kazakhstan, Lanzarote, Limburg (Maastricht Region), Oslo, Rome, The Hague, the United States of America and other communities. The book primarily aims to inspire readers and offer them a broad overview of an issue in modern society that is of interest and relevance to all of us: the reputation of our communities.

‘It has been said that countries should measure their gross national imagination, a critical resource for success in the twenty-first century. This important new book shows why this is crucial in an age of fractured identity – and how so many places have forged initiatives that put themselves on the map but also inspire the rest of the world.’
Dr Parag Khanna, Author of Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization

‘I am a big believer in the power of purpose: that companies and individuals should have a meaningful purpose that guides their thinking, decisions, and actions. But until I read Robert Govers’ Imaginative Communities, the thought of applying purpose at the community level never occurred to me. Read this brilliant book and you, too, will see how to bring a sense of belonging and meaningful purpose to your communities, no matter their size.’
B. Joseph Pine II, Co-author, The Experience Economy

‘Robert Govers has written a terrific book.  With miraculous clarity he guides the reader on a world tour of the subject of community reputation and its management.  He presents a breathtaking range of places and kinds of actors – cities, regions and nation states – from the Americas to Central Asia and on to the Pacific.  His examples are new, thought provoking and illuminated by his personal experience as a researcher and consultant.  Best of all, his conclusion underlines the need for citizens to focus not on presenting a better image but on building for a better reality.’
Nicholas J. Cull, Author of Public Diplomacy: Global Engagement in the Era of Social Media

‘A really important addition to our understanding of people, places and their purpose. Govers’ book is a refreshing and highly readable departure from “practitioner” texts that simply apply tired marketing principles to the management and promotion of places. Incisive and genuinely thought provoking, this book deserves a place on the desk of every senior policy-maker in national, regional and city governments worldwide.’
Simon Anholt, Founder of Good Country