Joint FAO-‐ENOLL meeting Rome, 26-‐01-‐2011 PaESI Concept Note and Technical Architecture An Experiential Platform for the Participatory Evaluation of Sustainable Innovation in Livelihood Conditions Francesco Molinari
2 TOC Ra-onale Sustainable Development as Systemic Change An alterna-ve point of view Concept Evidence based decision making Immersive / experien-al plaHorm Digital ecosystem Func-onal descrip-on Conclusions
3 Rationale Sustainable development is a maJer of systemic change that (posi1vely) impacts on the economic drivers of a community, while preserving the fundamental characters of the social and environmental landscape. However, evalua-ng the progress “towards a beJer future” of a given community is mostly a foresigh1ng exercise, possibly grounded on con-ngent pieces of evidence, which can only en-tle to work out “reasonable” specula-ons – quite oQen becoming “seIf-‐fulﬁlling” expecta-ons. An alterna-ve point of view takes as a baseline for deﬁning sustainable innova-on (of a policy stance, or a concrete instance thereof) the actual livelihood condi1ons of the people aﬀected by its envisaged implica-ons, in terms of e.g. available housing, nutri-on, health records, levels of educa-on etc.
5 Rationale (2) In principle, the various elements forming this baseline can be analysed, interpreted and even visualised, to help governments make more informed decisions on systemic change, and especially to “ﬁne tune” their ongoing policy ac-ons: either objec1vely, i.e. by measuring and benchmarking some quan1ta1ve indicators of performance, in terms of an “assessed impact” projec-on over -me; or subjec1vely, i.e. by integra1ng people’s “wishes and wills” into the decision-‐ making process, to arrive at a “perceived impact” evalua-on with the help of the ci-zens directly or poten-ally aﬀected by the ac-on’s results. What is missing in this scenario is the introduc-on of a permanent, “evidence based”, decision support plaGorm, assisted by (though not limi-ng itself to) the use of ICT tools, and open to the par-cipa-on of a huge number of people, not only stakeholder representa-ves, but mostly coming from the general public of a given jurisdic-on.
6 Concept The plaHorm should oﬀer to people the possibility of ge]ng immersive experiences – from which, the “experien1al” aJribute used to name it – during the conﬁgura-on and valida-on of future scenarios concerning a community’s growth and development. The ongoing evalua-on of public policies done through the plaHorm should reﬂect a pragma1c combina1on of objec1ve and subjec1ve indicators, thus responding seamlessly and dynamically to the evolving needs and requirements of the par-cipants, rather than depending on the usual -me lags in the collec-on and elabora-on of performance related evidence. Finally, people’s engagement in the plaHorm ac-vi-es should be con1nuous and uninterrupted, thus going far beyond the occasional, “one-‐shot” experiments where ci1zens are used as “guinea pigs” in a guided par-cipatory environment and pathway.
7 Concept (2) The PaESI solu-on comes from original in-‐house research eﬀorts done at our Company in the framework of: 1. an assessment study of the Living Labs “phenomenon”, promoted by the European Commission in 2008, where an updated version of the MASAI Approach* was developed and implemented, focusing on the transi-on phase of European Living Labs from R&D towards industrially and commercially viable solu-ons; 2. an innova1ve start-‐up project (www.supermoney.eu), funded by the Italian Ministry of Youth Innova1on, which has deployed a web service to households and businesses, allowing the comparison of prices and other commercial condi-ons of several mass consump-on goods and services – from ﬁxed and mobile telephony to the most popular banking and insurance contracts. It also takes into account the ongoing experience at FAO in the collec-on and delivery of livelihood datasets (e.g. hJp://kids.fao.org/glipha/index.html) * The MASAI basic approach has first been developed by MTA in 2004 and used for a Study of the Impact of the IST Programme, and of itspredecessor Programmes Esprit IV, ACTS, TAP (Contract N° C28262 with DG INFSO).
8 Concept (3) The PaESI plaHorm is also based on the no-on of “digital ecosystem”, a Living Lab-‐like community resul-ng from a con-nuous interac-on among the three cons-tu-ng elements of any “real-‐life” socio-‐economic space: -‐ the people, in their various roles (e.g. ci-zens, customers etc.), -‐ the (private and public) ins1tu1ons popula-ng, delimi-ng and regula-ng the people’s living spaces, and -‐ the (natural and built) environment they all live in. Like any biological system, a digital ecosystem aims ﬁrst to its own growth and development, thanks to the con-nuous inclusion and selec-on of new users and interac-on among its cons-tu-ng elements. The system can also let some new and addi-onal self-‐organising structures emerge, which enhance its compe--veness with respect to other, less powerful or eﬃcient, structures. However, its ﬁnal target is always to reach a cri-cal mass, allowing the so-‐ called “autopoiesis”, or “network eﬀects”, typical of complex systems, a phenomenon that can be managed and governed by the use of appropriate methods and tools.
9 Functional description Decision Scenario Scenario Scenario • Ranking of priorities Makers A B N • Informed decisions 1 • Provision of indicators • Definition of scenarios • Feedback PaESI 3 collection • Immersive scenariosPlatform for evidence • Shared future visions based decision • Transparent alternatives making • Self-Profiling 2 • Analysis of indicators • Selection of scenarios • Active engagement Users User User User • Improvement of own #1 #2 #X livelihood conditions
10 Functional description (2) In its current implementa-on, our proposed system architecture leverages on four diﬀerent components and data sources: 1. an informa1on base, which is created and conﬁgured since the 1 project’s ini1alisa1on, and is then con-nuously monitored and updated at the level of M2M interac-on, i.e. via a permanent dialogue with the customer organisa-ons’ [ins-tu-ons’] IT systems 2. a computa1onal model, framing the collec1on, integra1on and localisa1on of user data (proﬁles, indicators, explicit and implicit preferences, needs, requirements etc.) and possibly environmental data 2 (deriving from available pieces of evidence) 3. user generated datasets, collec-ng the inputs provided by the par-cipants while being put in rela-on with the contents of the 3 informa-on base 4 4. system generated datasets (outputs), oﬀering on-‐the-‐ﬂy support to informed decision-‐making.
11 Conclusions The plaHorm is being developed thanks to the support of EU funding in the context of the CIP (ICT-‐PSP) project HABITATS. Its broad aim is to leverage the intelligence of all relevant actors, knowledge and datasets, in co-‐designing sustainable livelihood projects and programmes. We believe this concept and plaHorm can be successfully adapted to the purpose of performing a par-cipatory evalua-on of the sustainability of innova-on, as well as providing a valid and updated informa-onal support to public decision makers in a number of related domains.