Ready for a collaborative adventure in sustainable energy?

Do you believe that participatory processes can help you achieve better outcomes and more effective sustainable energy policies ? 
Yes ? 
Then take a look at this game book !

Taking citizen participation to another level

Participatory processes are great. They allow us to overcome the challenges of modern democracy, such as the lack of trust and transparency, disconnectedness between citizens and their governments and political disenchantment. But they also share the work of energy transition between the whole of society. Since the energy transition requires citizen acceptance and a shift to sustainable lifestyle patterns, collaborative governance is crucial for every government.

As shown with our 2016 study “The energy transition : new dialogues between cities & local stakeholders“, several good examples of new participatory approaches have already emerged. Today, it is time to shift the discussion to the next level – from a discussion among experts to a debate among citizens. The paths towards a culture of participation, leading to inclusive governance and accelerating the energy transition at the same time, are many but they can be bumpy and rocky. Due to their complexity and scope, these processes are often feared to be time-consuming and costly. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Those who make the decision to implement collaborative governance are hence advised to do so very carefully.

Overcoming the governance challenges thanks to a game book

Everyone who has ever taken part in a collaborative process knows that these are not always fun stories. They often face a number of conflicts and diverging interests, leading organisers and participants to struggle to make the right decision. Human behaviour is unpredictable and may change against expectations, so collaborative governance is complex and may produce chaos instead of order and conflict rather than harmony. Unexpected behaviour may moreover lead to unexpected results, making it nearly impossible to plan a collaborative process. As such, the journey towards a culture of engagement is rough.

The ENLARGE project has developed a game book that serves as a support tool to overcome these challenges. The book will provide you with knowledge and skills and prepare you for the various unexpected situations that you might encounter. As a local government attempting to formulate and implement an energy saving plan, you will be confronted with real-life challenges that are related to collaborative processes in the field of sustainable energy. You will have to make many difficult decisions and face severe conflicts within your municipality. Will you be able to make the right decisions that both satisfy the members of your community and allow you to implement decisive local energy projects ?

Explore existing models of participatory governance in the field of sustainable energy ! And, in particular, their legitimacy, effectiveness, sustainability and success mechanisms. Based on theoretical knowledge and on-the-ground experiences, the game book is an interactive knowledge tool that gives you information not only about different participatory approaches, methodologies and tools but also about potential consequences of alternative scenarios. After having chosen your policy-making context and your character, the journey can begin.

Pragmatic examples to help you design your collaborative process

Based on experiences and pragmatic examples, the game book is highly realistic and touches upon the main critical points (capacities, procedures and processes, mechanisms). But be aware – it is not a bedtime story, but rather a dense and intense journey full of information and knowledge. Herein lies its added value. The combination of examples and insights from real-life processes have led to the creation of this sound and realistic book. It is a useful tool for assessing a fundamental part of participatory practices : that is the reflection upon action.

To pave the way for more inclusive and effective participatory processes and policies, the game book will help you design and set up your collaborative process for your energy transition. By the end of the journey, you will know about the three concepts of social legitimacy, institutional sustainability and policy effectiveness and their relation to collaborative processes. This will provide you with the necessary theoretical background and prepare you for unexpected situations. Quotes and anecdotes from previous processes will equip you with the flexibility needed for a successful process and help you to reflect upon the various opinions and positions.

Interested in undertaking or improving collaborative processes for your sustainable energy transition ? Then it´s time to try the game book and foster a culture of engagement within your local community.

ENLARGE project

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Publication date

October 9, 2018