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PoliRural Yleinen

The observations and insights of PoliRural project – Häme region drivers of change

The preliminary analysis of drivers, barriers and enablers

Häme pilot organized 12.3.2020 in Lepaa a workshop to identify drivers, enablers, and barriers that are assumed to have an impact on establishing new companies in Häme rural.  The below table summarizes the results.

STEEPV Inventory of Drivers of Change

The approach is based on STEEPV mnemonic. It consists of the creation of separate lists under six headings as follows.

SOCIAL Factors: These will include demographic trends, the evolution of the age-pyramid, issues related to gender, families and how they are organized, and any persistent or emerging phenomenon related to how society operates.

TECHNOLOGICAL Factors: These include all major technologies that will have an impact on work and leisure, what we consume and the way we consume, the services that make our lives easier, more interesting, or more fulfilling. These include infrastructure issues, such as road, rail, and airport but also communication infrastructures such as high-quality internet and rural broadband.

ECONOMIC Factors: These include everything that has an impact on our ability to get a job or earn a living, support a family, setup a business. It includes the quality of work and the cost of living, the burden of renting, the ability of young people to buy a house or save for the future. Taxation, the burden of debt-service, private and public sector borrowing. The cost of looking after old people, the distribution of wealth, income inequality and wage stagnation. Trends related to public-private partnership and the cost of basic services such as energy, water, education, and healthcare. Record amounts of money going into VC and PE, the emergence of decacorns (as opposed to unicorns) as well as an accelerated shift away from coal and oil towards more sustainable sources of energy.

ENVIRONMENTAL Factors: These included everything to do with weather and climate, CO2 emissions and what is generally referred to as natural capital. This includes stocks of good quality soil and water catchment areas, pollution, access to water for drinking and domestic use, industry, and irrigation, mineral resources such as metals and rare-earth elements for mobile phones, computers, wind turbines and PV panels, as well as for batteries. It includes biodiversity such a populations of winged insects, native species, nature reserves and everything required to maintain robust eco-systems. Diseases and parasites of plants, trees, crops, animals, and humans.

POLITICAL Factors: These include policies, institutions and initiatives including new legislation at international EU or member state level. At EU level, there is the impact of BREXIT, the new commission  with its new priorities and budgets, ambitious plans for the Green Transition, and facilities for the post-

COVID world. There is the latest wave of CAP reform. Finally, there is a changing international order, in which the roles of superpowers such as the US and China have evolved considerably, trade wars are looming and new regions have gained I significance, in particular Africa.

VALUE Related Factors: One of the most powerful forces shaping human behaviour is the set of ‘values’ that inform how individuals see the world, and how they make decisions as consumers and as citizens and as voters. So, this category includes things such as the rise in student and employee activism, concern for the planet, new food movements, interest in cooperatives, concern for personal privacy and distrust of big-tech companies (such as Facebook).

In the POLIRURAL project we divided up the work of exploring these 6 categories among 6 teams, each more or less corresponding to two of the POLIRURAL pilot regions. This resulted in the selection of 64 “drivers” which are inventoried in this document.  The resulting ‘inventory’ contains 64 drivers across the 6 categories. It is not by any means exhaustive. But it provides a useful starting point for the ‘drivers analysis’ activity in each of the 12 regional Foresight pilots.

A STEEPV Inventory of Drivers of Change

The analysis of drivers of change (STEEPV) in Häme

HÄME pilot stakeholder group gathered in groups Teams platform on 27.8.2020 for a workshop to identify the drivers affecting the attractiveness of the Häme region. The goal of the workshop was to discuss:

  • How is the change happening in the area?
  • What changes are happening right now? 
  • What changes are likely to occur in the future? 
  • The order of importance of the drivers of change and the possibilities of influencing change.

The stakeholders were divided into 3 subgroups with 2 STEEPV categories per group. Groups were working on google drive with the aim of identifying the most important drivers from the drivers inventory listing. First, every member took a look at the drivers of change and chose the most important drivers affecting the goal of Häme pilot, then the group together chose the most effective change drivers and started the discussions on the basis of the questions on the table.  The questions groups were dealing with were:

  • Is the power of change affecting Häme now? How?
  • How is the change likely to continue in the future until 2040? Rate + / – / 0
  • Desired change (How do you see the desired future?)
  • Opportunities to influence the drivers of change (on a scale 1-5)

The summary of STEEPV groups identified by stakeholders

Häme stakeholders’ accumulated scoring by STEEPV groups is demonstrated in the below radar. The main outcome is that political and environmental change factors draw stakeholders’ attention. This result doesn’t mean that the other change factor has no meaning.

The results by each STEEPV group identified by stakeholders

Social Technological Drivers of Change

  • The skewed age distribution of rural areas – an aging population 
  • Increasing need for community 
  • Rural Society 5.0 – Smart Village 
  • The need for a sustainable lifestyle – climate change – the environment 

Technological Drivers of Change 

  • Broadband availability is a prerequisite for digital change.
  • Digital change is inevitably advancing, the challenge is to make the right use of it for rural development and entrepreneurship 

Economical Drivers of Change

  • Diversification of economical activities in rural areas and development of entrepreneurship and new business, economical sustainability
  • Digital, smart agriculture; profitability, transparency of food, benefit for farmers, not only for big (and rich) farmers 
  • Public investment (eg in infrastructure and telecommunications), political influence
  • Accessibility and mobility, new solutions are needed in rural areas 

Ecological/Environmental Drivers of Change 

  • Climate change (combating and adapting -> pioneering the search for solutions), subsidies to farmers, commitment to do actions .The discussion noted that many other forces for change in the theme are related to this. Like exceptional weather conditions which effects crop yields, heatwaves etc. 
  • Tipping points: The corona crisis has shown that it is important to be prepared for and able to react to unforeseen situations.

Political Drivers of Change

  • Regional Policies, direct actions strongly to wanted purposes e.g. circular economy. There is competition between cities and rural areas (which are not wanted). Including CAP, rural tourism policy etc.(41)
  • Policies of environmental and biodiversity affecting in EU – so in Häme too, possibilities for new business (but could be drivers or barriers, too).

Values as a Drivers of Change

  • Concern for the planet, the environment and the climate, linking with all development. Giving business opportunities for circular economy and wellness entrepreneurship. Foresight initiatives important, Häme leader. 
  • Glocalization, regional solutions important, hope for future, community actions needed 

Conclusions 

The following table summarizes the results i.e. the most important change drivers in the Häme region obtained in the above-mentioned two stakeholder workshops.  The main results are from the latter workshop (27.8.2020) which outcome is complemented with the classification of drivers (D), barriers (B), and enablers (E) that were discovered in the 12.3.2020 workshop (entrepreneurship-focused).

Key Policy Challenges:

  • Circular economy: Green Deal, CAP27
  • Entrepreneurship and new business opportunities: Digitalization, broadband
  • Experiences and well-being: COVID-19 response and effects, demand and need for welfare services (demography)

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