The top 13 values that bind Ordinary Energy Transition Pioneers (POTEs)

Catching the sense of community

By Carine Dartiguepeyrou and Christiane Maurer

“A value is a human quality to which we attribute importance, which we express by means of what we think, say and do, and recognize in what others say and do.”
Kenton Hyatt and Cheryl De Ciantis, What’s Important, Understanding and Working with Values Perspectives, Integral Publishers, 2014.

Since late 2017, the Bourgogne Franche-Comté region and Energy Cities, in partnership with ADEME and Mister Lion, have been organizing the POTEs network to drive the energy transition with a view toward building a Positive Energy Region. Over 300 POTEs have so far been identified in the region, in various fields : renewable energy, energy efficiency, mobility, economics, agriculture, waste, social economy, education, culture… but what do they aspire to ? What energy guides their actions and motivates their behaviours ?

Political scientist Carine Dartiguepeyrou conducted an analysis of their behaviours based on interviews with over 40 POTEs, with the goal of defining the peculiarities of this community and identifying its common values. To this end, she used a behavioural psychology taxonomy developed by US-based analytics firm Kairos, which centres around both personal and collective values.

The resulting top 13 POTEs values list constitutes a base of common values which can feed the POTE network and give us valuable information about POTEs’ deeper needs for both individual and collective dynamics and skills.

A wider consciousness of the stakes

The dominant aspects of the POTEs’ philosophy are a wider consciousness of the stakes and a strong sensitivity to so-called ‘interdependent’ subjects : “sustainability”, ecology, innovation, collective power of action.

Another value which is very specific to the POTEs group is “efficiency”, which refers to the manner in which the POTEs conduct and live “innovation” as a way to develop, create or implement practices while minimizing the waste of resources.

The POTEs have a strong bond with the land, nature, and “traditions”, and are animated by altruistic values : they care about living things and bringing them emotional and material support, and they recognize historical practices as a way of giving meaning to the present.

A search for quality of life, for moments of simple, non-material joy is strongly expressed in the “wellbeing” value.

The values of “collaboration” and “service” refer to the need to work with and for local residents. These values are closely linked with “taking care of others” and community, underscoring the importance of bonds and connections.

“The sense of community” (the feeling of common identity, resources, traditions, practices or values) is also seen by many as a specificity of the Region.

The “learning” value is very important to the POTEs, both individually and collectively. It expresses a diverse range of aptitudes and is linked to the ideas of tradition and mentoring.

The “commitment” value (the will to adhere to a plan of action, a promise or an agreement) is linked to the ideas of freedom and empowerment, and also centres on individual and collective dynamics.

The “openness” value is perceived as the need to remain open to others and to the rest of the world, and to not withdraw into one’s region. It is counterbalanced by the “independence” value, which stresses the importance of freedom of action.

POTEs also express a diversity of views

Despite sharing many values, they also express a diverse array of views, for example relative to technology and progress. For some, progress comes from the development of technological innovations and the opening of territories to the digital revolution. For others, innovation should focus on being ‘low-tech’, and hew as closely as possible to traditional and minimalist solutions.

Another example is the role of the State. For some, the state must reclaim its role as a public power. For others, it only hampers their freedom to innovate.

Lastly, despite the shared feeling of ecological urgency, there are disagreements as to how to respond to the oncoming challenges.

The analysis of values has clarified the values that bind the POTEs and what they mean to them. It gives us precious data about the competencies the POTEs can rely on and how to give them the tools to build up their skills and reinforce their power of action.

Further reading

Community voices in Luzy : village of the future, mates of the future

Article by Carine Dartiguepeyrou, excerpt from the record of contributions from the international francophone meeting (June 6th-9th, 2018) : « Transition énergétique & sociétale : comment changer d’échelle ? » (only in French)


Publication date

October 26, 2018