I’m in the process to write my share into the Horizon2020 periodic report. The aim is that we – project consortium partners – look backward and assess what went well and what didn’t go so well. What was the performance and progress in the research and innovation action compared to the grant agreement?
While writing I reflect on good Performance Assurance and Monitoring (PA/PM) practices that are in use in the best organizations e.g. in industrial organizations, public institutions, and companies. How do they assure and monitor their performance?
In Horizon2020 research and innovation projects, the purchaser of the action, i.e. European Commission, defines that the project coordinator’s responsibility is to monitor the project performance and progress.
However, it may happen that EC’s command rules the project practices. The project coordinator puts all efforts into Performance Monitoring (PM), and neglects Performance Assurance (PA). If the project coordinator doesn’t implement Performance Assurance (PA) practices into the project, it gives an unofficial mandate to all partners to comply same questionable example.
The efficient, right directed and timely Performance Assurance (PA) measures are key variables in the project execution, progress, and performance.
Performance Assurance (PA) measures build the conditions that all partners have an opportunity to succeed and carry out good work.
High-class performance in the project regarding quality, delivery, and cost (value v.s. working hours) is a result of the project culture.
A world-class high-performance culture calls for leadership, communication, values, work teams, structures, human capital, performance assurance, and performance monitoring.
This is my home city – Lahti. It is located in southern Finland in the province of Päijät-Häme. Lahti is the biggest city in the province.
12 front-runner cities and regions
10 cities and 2 regions are currently engaged in the CITIES2030. The project incorporates diverse cities and regions as stated in the below table. These 10 cities and 2 regions are called front-runners.
10 cities and 2 regions Geography
Bremerhaven (DE), flat, temperate oceanic
Bruges (BE), flat, temperate oceanic
Haarlem (NL), flat, temperate oceanic
Iaşi (RO), uplands, humid continental
Quart de Poblet (ES), flat, Mediterranean,dry/hot summer
Murska Sobota (SI), flat, temperate oceanic
Seinäjoki (FI), flat, subarctic
Troodos (CY), mountainous, Mediterranean, hot semi-arid
Velika Gorica (HR), flat, temperate oceanic
Vejle (DK), flat, temperate oceanic
Vicenza (IT), flat, humid subtropical
Vidzeme region (LV), highlands, humid continental
* Density Number of inhabitants per km2. Source: CITIES2030
38 follower cities and regions
Cities2030’s aim is to engage a total of 50 cities by the end of the project covering a spanning diversity of scales, climates, and terrains, from continental to coastal settings. At the end of the day, Cities2030 will engage 12 front-runners and 38 followers.
Lahti locates in the province of Päijät-Häme being the biggest city in the province. The three strategic RDI target fields in the Päijät-Häme province are sports, food & drinks, and the manufacturing industry. The RDI strategy is updated in November 2021 (link)
The province’s and accordingly Lahti’s strategic orientation to focus RDI efforts too on food & drinks sounds like a good idea from Cities2030 perspective. S&L will be following the next acts in Päijät-Häme province and in Lahti waiting for an opportunity to initiate cooperation between the city of Lahti and Cities2030.
We, in the CITIES2030 project, have a hypothesis: 12+ pilots carry out an Extended Innovation Pattern (EIP) to deliver innovations to capitalize, best practices to share, and improvements to enhance processes. The innovation environment is built upon a multi-actor approach and open innovation. CITIES2030 project contributes to the transformation of Urban Food Systems.
The platform to generate innovations, novel practices, and process innovations is Living Lab. Each of the 12 cities i.e. 12 pilots establishes a Living Lab that engages and activates regional and local multiple stakeholders to assess, study, develop and innovate new attributes on CITY REGION FOOD SYSTEM (CRFS). The aim is to foster the Urban Food System transition towards 2030.
Eventually, by the end of the project, CITIES2030 has engaged 50 cities all over Europe. These multiplier’ cities follow and learn from the pilot cities’ achievements, and initiate their own transition pathways towards 2030.
The survey was developed in parallel in all the PoliRural 12 regional pilots during the same period, beginning on Feb 10th and ending on March 9 th 2020. In Häme the survey gathered the interest of a total of 90. The below conclusion is copied directly from the deliverable D4.2 and it reflects all 12 pilots.
The differences among the European territories and population with regard to geographic, cultural, language and other factors, do not mean to be a weakness and could be identified as a strength due to the commonalities that arise from the detail study on the needs and factors of attractiveness for the rural areas.
However, there is a need to create the conditions to improve the attractiveness of rural areas connected to the development of a framework for coordinated program and activities towards different economic sectors in rural areas, which express the need to build the different policies based upon the coherence and strategic planning, of policies, measures and activities with a holistic view.
More than 80 needs where identified in this exercise, however, it was possible to reach to a common understanding of the most important needs with a total number of 32 needs finally assessed that have allowed to develop cluster maps per each of the 7 pillars and needs, integrated into 4 different categories: Quality of life; Social capital; Cultural appeal; and Natural capital (see below image).
Note: The light blue text in the mind-map means that this need is also identified in Häme region.
The digitisation process of the society and the economy is well connected to the factors of attractiveness of rural areas. At this regard there is common concern on the need to have a good internet connectivity (broadband) in the whole territory, which is a framework condition for the further development of other digital services.
The sustainability and environmental aspects are strongly considered as factors of attractiveness of rural areas. All the regions highlighted the importance of these aspects in relation to different categories for the attractiveness: social capital, cultural appeal and natural capital.
One of the most relevant factors, is the one related to the need of finding more employment possibilities to reduce the dependency ratio and improve the conditions to attract new entrants, with a special view to women and youth. Gender equality and the participation of women and youth in business and in the society, is also relevant to consider future actions oriented to rural areas.
Finally, the mobility rural-urban and the provision of public services (medical, educational and dependents care) are very relevant needs identified and prioritized through the exercise. These are considered of importance to improve the quality of life, avoid the abandonment of rural areas and attract new entrants.
COVID-19 has also affected the need to support of tele-working opportunities prioritized by only two regions. It is supposed how tele-working will have a stronger view for the future development of opportunities in the rural areas that cannot be neglected. Another effect is the one related to e-health, e-learning and other digital services, like e-commerce, that will allow to enhance the capacity to develop the factors of attractiveness of rural areas in the future.
PoliRural’s twelve (12) pilot teams have familiarized themselves with the system modelling process through four phases. The four phases are the following:
Drivers Analysis for 12 local pilots
Building the Matrix KPI – DRIVERS
The High-Level Model
System Dynamics Experts’ Layer
As described by Dr Patrick Crehan (CKA) in the internal working document for PoliRural’s twelve (12) pilots:
“DRIVERS ANALYSIS is a process whereby you obtain an overview of the factors that are driving change in your region, with a view to understanding the challenges faced and how they are likely to evolve in the coming years.”
PoliRural’s 12 pilots’ Drivers Analysis built-up information and insights that made it possible for System Dynamics Modelling experts to identify rural attractiveness main dynamics and the related Key Performance Indicators (KPI). The second phase of the system modelling, which is “Building the Matrix KPI – DRIVERS”, was completed.
In terms of System Dynamics Modelling (SDM), the main dynamics are POPULATION, EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION, AGRICULTURE, NATURAL CAPITAL, QUALITY OF LIFE, RURAL ATTRACTIVENESS AND RURAL RETENTION CAPACITY.
The initial and overall ambition of the Häme pilot is:
The pilot will use PoliRural results to boost the region’s attractiveness by introducing business-friendly policies that can encourage new entrepreneurs to create products and services on circular-economy and well-being, which in the future may become a significant source of employment.
Change Factors Analysis (CFA) groups the identified change factors in two: Factors that help to achieve desired change and factors that are against desired change. Some of the change factors belong to both groups.
The note “KPI” refers to the time series and other data that has been collected for Häme’s System Dynamics Modelling (SDM).
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.
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 groupidentified 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
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)
Mäntyharju is a municipality that is located in the Southern Savonia region in Finland. The municipality has a population of 5,666.
Mäntyharju Citizen College is an active and innovative college that provides diverse courses and activities to all age citizens, and also to companies.
Smart & Lean has been already for a while a teacher of Mäntyharju Citizens College. The Lean program includes two different courses: Lean Six Sigma White Belt and Lean developers’ workshop.
On 5.10.2021 we had an interactive and communicative afternoon with 10 enthusiastic Lean developers who were all employees of Mäntyharju municipality.
The workshop was one step in a systematic journey to build capacity on municipality staff and at the same time develop municipality processes by applying Lean – principles and methods. The approach is built on real-life needs and a hands-on approach. It means that the developers identify and eliminate problems by improving processes – every day. The taken steps may be small, but the direction is towards excellence.
Two basic Lean tools that have been introduced and practiced at the courses are, of course, Plan-Do-Check-Act and A3 -model (see the below the image).
PoliRural project is a Horizon2020 funded project that researches, innovates, and delivers novel solutions to future-oriented collaborative policy development for rural areas.
What is then the policy value chain?
The image on right represents my subjective interpretation of the policy value chain. It is shaped based on my experiences and learnings at PoliRural. It is rather ideal and optimistic. I trust that in real life the value chain is far more complicated and fuzzy. I have also doubts about policymakers’ interest and ability to include into the process the diverse change factors (drivers, mega-trends, trends, weak signals), and multiple voices of the customers i.e. citizens and civil society.
However, this image includes the following components of PoliRural Pre-Foresight studies:
PoliRural partners have identified and described 64 Change Factors that are grouped in STEEPV-groups, that are Social-, Technological-, Economic-, Environmental-, Political-, and Value weighted change factors.
PoliRural 12 pilots have listened to rural inhabitants and rural development professionals on needs and requirements that echo diverse rural realities.
PoliRural 12 pilots have mapped policies that aim to impact on rural future and compared the policies to needs.
PoliRural has investigated, through local stakeholder panels, the SWOT situation in pilot areas. What are Häme region’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats from the stakeholders’ perspective?
PoliRural pilots have explored rural-related Key Performance Indicators (KPI) through System Dynamics Modelling and later we will define a locally adapted set of KPIs that are addressed to direct the rural policy value chain transformation. Imagine, we will monitor and assess policymakers’ performance and impact on rural areas.
There are though a bunch of parameters and components that I have brought into the image but which are excluded from the PoliRural research e.g. the values and principles of politicians. They are out of the box, in this research.
As a result of Pre-Foresight studies, the HÄME pilot, just like the 11 other pilots, has acquired a better understanding of rural reality from the policy value chain and policy-making performance point of view. The Pre-Foresight phase purpose is to make observations and seek evidence on the environment. To understand what is the situation today, in order to be able to define a future vision for 2040.
The next phases of PoliRural research are firstly the actual Foresight phase and then to define the Post-Foresight.