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20151119 an experimental culture in the making yhys annukka berg


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The presentation defines sustainability experiments and describes a categorisation based on 6 different uses of these experiments. The 6 categories are utilized for analysing Finland's current quest to become an experimentalist society,

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20151119 an experimental culture in the making yhys annukka berg

  1. 1. An experimental culture in the making? Uses of sustainability experiments & the case Finland Annukka Berg (D.Soc.Sc.) SYKE, Environmental Policy Centre YHYS Fall Colloquium, November 19-20, 2015
  2. 2. The structure of the presentation 2 ● Sustainability experiments ○ Definitions ○ Use categories ● A short history of Finland’s quest to become an experimentalist society ● How to approach the promotion experimental culture in Finland? – applying the use categories
  3. 3. 3 Disclaimer: This presentation includes thinking-in- progress and notes about a process that is currently taking place. Thus, comments are welcome and floor is open for discussion.
  4. 4. 4 The potential and risks of experimenting Sustainability experiments
  5. 5. Why sustainability experiments matter to me? 5 ● PhD on national sustainable consumption and production programmes (2006-2012) ○ Frustration ● Stockholm’s congestion charge experiment (2005-2006) ● Well evaluated ● Communal referendum ● The haunting question: What if all the limited resources driving sustainability would be directed to action? ● A side-project since 2008
  6. 6. ● In the recent literature, defined in various ways (see e.g. Bulkeley & Castán Broto 2013; Kivimaa et al. 2015; Berkhout et al. 2010) ○ Sustainability experiments have multiple faces ● A minimalistic definition: (1) A concrete act that is (2) novel (in its context), (3) temporary (restricted space and scale) and (4) reversible (open to failure) and (5) the outcomes of which are not known beforehand ● Other typical features: involves a network of actors, fosters learning, seeks to contribute to broader societal development (directional) 6 Sustainability experiments
  7. 7. “The three rights” of experimental culture - A popular definition 7 (1) The right to act (2) The right to plan less (3) The right to fail -> Taking (restricted) action/steps even though consensus, resources, and knowledge would be lacking -> Experimentation essentially about learning by doing -> Can be contrasted with deliberating, studying or planning a case/question
  8. 8. ● The idea: to take into account that sustainability experiments a institutionally ambiguous form of governance (Hajer 2003) ○ Open-minded policy analysis process: what is meaningful and legitimate? ● Actors use (the opportunities provided by) sustainability experiments for various purposes ○ Can be categorized: framing experiments from use perspective ○ Knowledge use literature (e.g. Hawe et al 2009) 8 The use perspective to sustainability experiments
  9. 9. ● An article on analysing Finland’s sustainable consumption and production programme from use perspective (Berg & Hukkinen 2011). Use categories: (1) scripted/instrumental; (2) deliberative/conceptual; (3) political/tactical; (4) ritual; (5) unprompted/unanticipated ● Categories partly overlapping -> for analysing experiments, need to add more ● A case study of resource-wise experiments of Jyväskylä (Berg & al. 2014) + a literature review -> later on: a meta- study 9 The development of use categories for sustainability experiments
  10. 10. Uses of sustainability experiments 1. Instrumental use 10 ● Experimentation as a test case/field trial ○ Practical information on “what works” ● The most conventional understanding of experimental governance ● The perspective of policy experiments (e.g. Jowell 2003) ○ Key questions: rigid design and evaluation, e.g. reliability and validity
  11. 11. Uses of sustainability experiments 2. Conceptual/deliberative use 11 ● Experimentation as a tool to foster higher order/conceptual learning – on individual and group levels ○ “Assumptions, norms, interpretive frames which govern the decision-making process and actions” (Brown & Vergragt 2008) ● A key theme in the SE literature ● The perspective of policy learning and deliberative democracy ○ Key questions e.g. organizing the experiment around learning, creating open networks and safe spaces, communicating to various audiences (Bos et al. unpublished)
  12. 12. Uses of sustainability experiments 3. Political use 12 ● Experimentation as a political act, e.g.: ○ A way to bring about, strengthen or weaken politically meaningful symbols, emblems, stories and discourses ○ A way to silent voices or mask general inaction ● A viewpoint less frequently addressed in the SE literature ● The perspective of (symbolic) politics (e.g. Edelman 1964) ○ Key questions e.g. the potential ritual features of an experiment; the power to bring about strong political symbols/discourses
  13. 13. Uses of sustainability experiments 4. “Practice change” use 13 ● Experimentation as a way to change routines, habits and practices (of everyday lives) ● A viewpoint addressed unevenly in the SE literature ● The perspective of sustainable consumption literature, marketing and practice theory – also living laboratories ○ Key questions e.g. how personal experiences and the ability to sense things affect behaviour; what is the role of learning by doing and concrete nudges in changing habits
  14. 14. Uses of sustainability experiments 5. Managerial use 14 ● Experimentation as a way to manage change and to accumulate resources for a cause ○ Networks, knowledge, stories, publicity, money ● A viewpoint less addressed in the SE literature ● Yet, a key for business thinking on experimentation (Tuulenmäki 2010) ○ Key questions e.g. the optimal and innovative design and timing of experiments to maximise resources in use
  15. 15. Uses of sustainability experiments 6. Systemic use 15 ● Experimentation as a driver for systemic change ○ socio-technical, socio-ecological etc ● A perspective frequently used in the SE literature ● The perspective of sustainability transitions literature – but also other e.g. sector-specific framings possible ○ Key questions e.g. the role of experimentation in niche and market creation, spatial development and societal problem solving (Kivimaa et al 2015); the possibilities for experiments to deepen, scale up and broaden
  16. 16. 16 A short history of Finland’s quest to become an experimentalist society
  17. 17. ● The Foresight Reports of the Prime Minister’s Office ○ On energy and climate policy (2009) ○ On sustainable growth and well-being (2013) ● In the legislature 2011 - 2015, Juha Sipilä the vice-chair of the Parliament’s Committee for the Future ○ Hearing and a study process on experimental culture 17 Seeds planted - Foresight Reports & Parliament’s Committee for the Future
  18. 18. ● Ideas on experimental culture met with enthusiasm across political party lines ○ A way to shift from stagnation/(mere) planning to action ○ Combatting extensive “normative burden” ○ Supporting civic engagement ● In the background ○ Frustration for the unability to solve the great challenges of our time: economic crisis, social and health care reform (SOTE), climate change… ○ Diminishing powers of the Parliament? 18 Hearings in Parliament’s Committee for the Future 2012
  19. 19. “Time to Experiment!” - A report 19 ● A study: “Time to experiment! – Finland on its way to become an experimentalist society”(Berg, 2013) ● Based on interviews with 14 Finnish experts from e.g. Tekes, Sitra, Aalto University + 14 case studies ○ An environmental focus ● Presented in a press conference chaired by Juha Sipilä in the spring 2013
  20. 20. ”Time to Experiment!” – Key recommendations 20 ● An office/ombudsman for experimentation and innovation ● High profile experimentation hubs ● Seed money ● Councelling services ● A program
  21. 21. ● Sitra: Various experiments and the quest to promote experimental culture ● Tekes: experimentation a key theme e.g. in the innovation research call of 2013 ● Ministry of the Environment & Ministry of Transport and Communications: Sustainable consumption and production experiments & Traffic Lab ● Valo: the idea to use experimentation as a way to make the whole nation exercise by 2017 -> On international level, e.g. increasing urban experiments, living labs and transition experiments + literature on the topic21 Other pioneering work in Finland (examples)
  22. 22. “A culture of experimentation will be introduced Experimentation will aim at innovative solutions, improvements in services, the promotion of individual initiative and entrepreneurship, and the strengthening of regional and local decision-making and cooperation. Experiments will make use of citizen-driven operating practices…” 22 Programme of Prime Minister Sipilä's Government (Chapter 8, p. 28)
  23. 23. ● An experimentation programme, including extensive trials and several smaller experiments, will be implemented. ● Systematic experimentation will be introduced and a legal basis will be created to make the arrangement of experiments easier. ● Experimentation will reduce response times and improve anticipation during the process of solving social problems, and the Government’s strategic aims will be promoted. 23 Programme of Prime Minister Sipilä's Government (Chapter 8, p. 28)
  24. 24. 24 The triangle model of experiments Governments strategic experiments: - Relatively few - Aim at developing governments policies - Well designed and evaluated Experimentation hubs: - 10-100? - For various purposes: research, technological and service innovation, governance practices - Design and evaluation as pragmatic for the actors? - By redirecting resources? Grassroots experimentation: - Everywhere: workplaces, NGOs, individual citizens… - Aim at developing their own operations and the society around (grassroots innovations!) - Light design and evaluation - Need for small seed money?
  25. 25. 25
  26. 26. A participative process 26 ● Minister Anu Vehviläinen leads the process together with the Minister group on public reforms ● So far, two expert workshops including officials from different ministries ● The Parliament of Finland informed and consulted in a special hearing ○ Parliamentary Adivisory Council
  27. 27. The next steps 27 ● Plans to establish an “office” to promote experimentation ○ Part of the Prime Minister’s Office ● A project to find out whether there should be a special fund for experiments, and if so, what kind of design it should have ○ SYKE takes part ● The design process started on the basic income experiment
  28. 28. How to approach the promotion of experimental culture in Finland? 28
  29. 29. Discussing the 6 uses - case Finland 1. Instrumental use 29 ● Particularly governments strategic experiments ● Practical ideas: Scientific advice for the government; a resource kit for those wanting to test an idea with max. reliability and validity (c.f. Jowell 2003) ● Critical questions: the rigidity of design and evaluation of experiments; the over-use of the instrumental perspective
  30. 30. Discussing the 6 uses - case Finland 2. Conceptual/deliberative use 30 ● All experiments ● Practical ideas: A check-list of design factors that nurture learning through experimentation (e.g. Bos et al. unpublished); networking & communicating success stories ● Critical questions: contents of the learning agenda; participation
  31. 31. Discussing the 6 uses - case Finland 3. Political use 31 ● All experiments, particularly governments strategic exp. ● Practical ideas: Supporting experiments that can act as symbols/emblems in politicized questions; rising and silencing political debates by exp. ● Critical questions: understanding that all experimentation potentially political; re- considering the design of exp., e.g.inclusions/exclusions
  32. 32. Discussing the 6 uses - case Finland 4. “Practice change” use 32 ● All experiments, particularly grassroots experiments ● Practical ideas: Resource kit for using personal trials and nudging to support changes in everyday practices and consumption patterns ● Critical questions: The paternalism of the approach
  33. 33. Discussing the 6 uses - case Finland 5. Managerial use 33 ● All - but particularly grassroots experiments and experimentation hubs ● Practical ideas: A resource kit (incl. communications material) and educational program for those managing experiments; including the viewpoint in the financing mechanisms (a stepwise approach) ● Critical questions: seeing the multiple faces of experiments
  34. 34. Discussing the 6 uses - case Finland 6. Systemic use 34 ● All experiments - but different dynamics on different levels ● Practical ideas: political, financial and specialist support (e.g. legal advice) to niche level; feedback-mechanisms to regime level on e.g. barriers to action ● Critical questions: risk of scattered action; the over-use of systemic perspective
  35. 35. 35 To conclude
  36. 36. ● Should there be a special fund for experiments? If so, how should it look like? ● On the basis of studies done so far, it seems that there would be the need for (Berg 2013; Berg et al 2014) ○ Easy-to-get seed money for grassroots ○ Redirecting existing resources to support experimentation hubs ● A three step co-creation process with major stakeholders ○ (1) The challenges and possibilities experienced in the field; (2) The possible models of funding exp.; (3) The implementation of the chosen model ○ Syke & Demos Helsinki (2015-2016) 36 Current SYKE projects - KORVA: A co-creation process on the funding of experiments
  37. 37. ● Start-up companies and co-creation communities as ecosystems for ecoinnovations ○ 2014- 2016 ○ Syke, Aalto University, Altonova Oy, Tekes ● Proposals to promote eco-innovations by experimentation ○ Eco-innovations high on the agenda of the “experimentation office” of the Prime Minister’s Office ○ Experimentation hubs where actors could co-operate by setting ambitious goals ○ Increased public risk financing for companies ○ Networks for learning 37 Current SYKE projects - SCINNO: Experimentation as a way to foster fruitful ecosystems for ecoinnovations
  38. 38. What is most fascinating in experimenting? 38 ● The possibilities/limits of sustainability experiments to change things on different levels ○ Multiple faces ● Understanding how people and societies are able to take up new things? ○ Learning by doing something fundamental ● Experimentation not new but rather old
  39. 39. 39 Thanks! Questions? Ideas?