The Lada and Velilla Social Innovation Platform aims to promote the collaboration between companies, public entities and the population living and working in the region in order to unlock the just transition of the region after the closing down of a thermal coal plant.
just transition, listening, co-creation, coal-fired power plants, economic recovery
Ongoing initiative, from September 2020 to now
- Listening method based on ethnographic approach (deep interviews, ethnographic profiles)
- Sense-making (collective interpretation)
- Multi-agent co-design sessions
Scale(s) of the case analysed
Target audience and dimension
Domain(s) of application
Challenge addressed/ Problem-led
Impact to climate neutrality
The Lada and Velilla innovation platform was set up in response to the closing of coal thermal plants to facilitate the just transition of the region. Its goal is to bring together key stakeholders (most importantly the affected communities, the energy company and local and regional government agencies) to co-design a portfolio of initiatives that enable the region to move away from a coal-centric socio-economic model towards decarbonization and long-term resilience, in line with the aspirations and perceptions of the people who live and work there.
Context & Public policy of reference
The European framework “Just Transition Mechanism“ is a key tool to ensure that the transition towards a climate-neutral economy happens in a fair way, leaving no one behind. The initiative contributes directly to Spanish regulation on climate change as: The Climate Change Law at Spain, National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 (PNIEC), and the Just Transition Strategy at Spain. Particularly, the Just Transition Strategy encourages the transition to a greener economic model to be socially beneficial and to be the engine for new quality jobs, in a country (Spain) with high unemployment rates. This Open Innovation Platform emerged under the framework of the agreements signed between the Ministry for Ecological Transition, the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy, the companies owning coal-fired power plants in Spain (including Iberdrola, Endesa, Naturgy and EDP) and the trade union organisations (UGT, FICA and CCOO Industria).
Innovative approach(es) addressed
- Mapping actors and initiatives (in 5 different levels) in the territory.
- Performing a Deep Listening Processes, including interviews and collective sensemaking sessions
- Co-creating process including co-design and user-focused open innovation to unleash, connect and identified initiatives
- Co-creating a portfolio of interconnected initiatives that respond to the diversity of visions, actors and commitments, including small scale innovative business model initiatives and large-scale public-private initiatives, new public services or new regulation
The multi-agent platform is promoted by Iberdrola, (a global energy company, the number-one producer of wind power, and one of the world's biggest electricity utilities by market capitalisation), the Innovation and Technology for Human Development Centre of the Technical University of Madrid, and the Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies of the Basque Country University.
Stakeholder networks and organisational model
- Employees of the coal-fired power plants (between 96 -140): Different positions
- Inhabitants of the regions: Inhabitants Lada y Velilla towns (30.000)
- Multi-agent platform form by public-private entities: Promoter
- Iberdrola, a global energy company, the number-one producer of wind power, and one of the world's biggest electricity utilities by market capitalisation: Initiator
- Center for Innovation and Technology for Human Development of the Technical University of Madrid: Experts on facilitation of multi-agent platforms.
- Public University: Agirre Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies of the Basque Country University: Experts on listening processes and mediation
- Public sector in the region
- SME, cooperatives, and entrepreneurs: Participants
Interaction between participants
- Economic: The need to revitalise the economy.
- Social: The listening methodology applied allows for a deep and diverse knowledge of the agents, including those who do not usually participate in the participatory, and allows the mapping of the community in a highly segmented way —for instance by gathering opposing ideas and collectively making sense of their associated values and beliefs.
- Technical: Expert facilitation capabilities to facilitate a dialogue among a wide range of agents: current employees, public institutions, private agents with interest in new business models, etc.
- Organizational: Agreeing on a concrete objective (economic reconversion in the areas of action) with a clear time horizon. Few actors at the beginning but highly committed. Offering a free accompaniment service by the multi-agent platform.
Key inhibiting factors
- Political: Few policy and public stakeholders involved.
- Legal: Lack of regional regulation to promote a just transition and green economy pathway from the local perspective.
- Economic: The Open Platform supports an ecosystem of innovation and prototyping that needs strategic connecting and facilitation work, and from funders perspective, remains to be resolved how to secure funding for the facilitation agents, that have been tasked with generating conversations and strengthening relationships between agents in the territory within the multi-agent Platform.
- Organizational: It is important to clarify from the outset that this type of multi-actor platform does not replace the role and functions of each of these actors separately. The combination of different capabilities offers additional problem understanding and services that do not complement the activity of public and private institutions.
Drawbacks/pros/cons of the solutions (after implementation)
- The community listening processes enable a profound understanding of the diverse stakeholders, including those that do not usually participate in participatory processes. This enriches the collective sense making and co-design processes, which were able to include informal workers, migrants, children, women, and seniors, among others.
- The process was able to integrate people of diverse political and ideological positions, enabling broad participation in the shared narrative creation
- Historical conflicts, in addition to perceptions and aspirations, were surfaced as part of the process making it possible for some of these issues to begin to be resolved in a transition towards greater social cohesion
Preliminary analyses are being carried out on the potential for scaling up or transfer, through the identification of lessons learned and proven procedures that have worked under the framework of the initiative of the Open Innovation Platform.
The following critical elements can be anticipated for replication of the Open Innovation Platform practices elsewhere:
- Train the listening team, making a combination of expert capacities in social and ethnographic research, and local capacities that know the territory in depth.
- Involve key actors in the co-creation process, both those audiences that are not usually listened to, and those linked to the decision making that will be required to advance the process of change pursued.
- Share learning from the process with peers who are implementing similar strategies in other contexts, so that the exchange of learning and failures is as immediate as possible.
Main positive lessons/opportunities identified:
- The open approach reinforces the multi-agent collaboration among different agents involved in the transition of the regions.
- The listening methodology applied allows for a deep and diverse knowledge of the agents, including those who do not usually participate in the participatory processes promoted by the administration.
Main failures/barriers identified:
- Slow involvement of some strategic local agents
Specific indicators are co-defined as part of the process following a developmental evaluation approach. The complete list of indicators has not yet been defined.