Gipuzkoa 2020 (Spain)


Online Foresight Guide

Designing the Exercise

1.1 Getting Prepared for the Exercise

Being Clear on Reasons for Using Foresight

In 2000, the starting point of the Gipuzkoa 2020 Strategic Reflection Process, driven by the Department of Economy and Tourism of the Gipuzkoa Council, was a response to the conviction that a strategic reflection process is always necessary beyond the present moment. And, in Gipuzkoa, at the beginning of a new century and millenium, it was more necessary since Gipuzcoa is the smallest province of Spain and it needs a project of its own to remain important in spite of its size; also it belongs to Euskadi (the Spanish Basque Country) which has a strong cultural identity.

This conviction led Gipuzkoa Council to promote a strategic reflection process, in and from Gipuzkoa, towards a horizon twenty years away.

The aim of the process was that the inhabitants of Gipuzkoa would be able to say what kind of Gipuzkoa they want to develop over the course of the 21st Century. The role of the Council was mainly to promote the exercise and the involvement of the inhabitants. This meant helping to think and decide about the best future vision for the territory. Knowing, always, that the future is built every day and and by everyone.

Therefore, every citizen and all the Institutions and Associations of Gipuzkoa were invited to participate. Each in their own field, and with their own thoughts and points of view.

Defining the Focus

The focus of the exercise was the area of Gipuzkoa, a sub-regional territory. Gipuzkoa is the smallest province of Spain, with an area of 1980 Km2 and a population of half million people. Its boundaries are the Gascogne gulf in the north, the provinces of Alava and Navarre in the south, Navarre and Labourd (French Basque country) for the east and provinces of Alava and Biscay on the western side.

The theme focus was determined by the first phase (year 2000) that was used to define the strategic challenges (opportunities and/or threats) which Gipuzkoa will have to face in the next 20 years.

Setting the Objectives

The Gipuzkoa 2020 - G2020 Strategic Reflection Process was an initiative of the Department of Economy and Tourism of the Gipuzkoa Council. Its objective was to drive a permanent strategic reflection in and for Gipuzkoa for the next 20 years. They wanted the process to be:

They started convinced that the great value of a process like this lies, mainly, in its existence, even more than in its results, as long as it is able to maintain a process really live and active. It means that the process of gathering people from Gipuzcoa with different interests and getting them to debate about the future of the territory is as important as the result itself since it creates a commun knowledge and understanding of the different parts of the society.

Thus the aim was also that the different actors of the territory (actors of the economy, the administration, associations...) could use this exercise as a framework for their own area of interest after the publication of the results of the exercise.

Since the Foresight process was thought to be permanenet and continuous the Gipuzkoa Council is now, in 2005, thinking to update next year the scenarios Gipuzkoa 2020 elaborated in 2003 (but it is the process of the 2003 exercise that is explained in this paper).

Determining the Users

The primary target audience were the main stakeholders in the territory:

The secondary target audience was the media, so as to reach more people.

Defining the scope

Group meetings held to hear opinions and criteria from the various sectors of society in Gipuzkoa, enabled four challenges to be identified (later becoming 5 challenges because civil society was divided into the civil society challenge and the governance challenge):

Setting the Time Horizon

The Gipuzkoa 2020 - G2020 Strategic Reflection Process is an initiative of the Department of Economy and Tourism of the Gipuzkoa Council. Its objective is to drive a permanent strategic reflection in and for Gipuzkoa for the next 20 years.

A time frame of 20 years seemed to represent a good balance between the shorter term of economic activities planning and the longer term of infrastructure planning.

Setting the Timeframe

The exercise begun on June 2000 and ended the first semester of 2003.

It involved 100 people directly in the first phase (2000), defining the strategic challenges (using the SWOT method). The second and third phases (2001 to 2003) involved again 100 people directly through meetings and around 800 people through the web forum.

The users potentially included everybody living in Gipuzkoa.

Reviewing Previous and Existing Work

A review of previous territorial foresight activities was performed before starting the exercice to decide the methodology. Many city, country and regional exercises were reviewed (Ile de France 2025, Götteborg 2050, Norway 2030, Limousin 2017, Vancouver...).

Finally, the methodology model for the Gipuzkoa 2020 (G2020) system is the exercise carried out by the European Union's Long-range Forecasting Unit, “Europe 2010”.

Mapping Available Resources

Gipuzkoa 2020 was organised by Ane Bustinduy from Prospektiker, an independent company, which specializes on Foresight, prospective and strategic studies for the public and private sector.

It was financed by the Department of Economy and Tourism of the Gipuzkoa Council. The budget was of 370,000 euros.

There were 900 participants from the research community, government agencies, large firms, SMEs, trade bodies and industrial federations, NGOs, media, banks and financial institutions and the general public.

The scientific and technical back office task force involved 6 people: 3 from the consultancy firm Prospektiker and 3 from the Gipuzkoa Council administration. The scientific and technical back office was in charge of the day to day organisation for the exercise, of the bibliographical review and of helping to or writing the different documents. For the organisation of phase 2 and 3, 4 leaders (chosen among the territory economical and social actors) for the 4 identified challenges were also involved to organise the work and the process of the challenge they were incharge to work on.

1.2 Setting-up the Exercise

Building Support

The department of Economy and Tourism of the Gipuzkoa Council launched and supported the foresight process. But along the process (year 2002 and 2003) informal meetings were organised with the other departments of the Gipuzkoa Council to keep them informed and maintain their informal support.

Building the Project Team

See “mapping available ressources”. The six people for the scientific and technical back office were involved part time or full time in the project depending of the phase and the amount of work required. The four leaders for each challenge were involved part time during phase 2 and 3.

Methodology

A three-stage approach was chosen for the foresight exercise:

In a first phase, the main 4 challenges of Gipuzkoa for the next 20 years were defined using a SWOT analysis : Territory, Economic Activity, Training and Civil Society.

In a second phase, these challenges became 5: Territory, Productive System, Human Capital, Civil Society and Governance. The scenario method was used for this phase, thus it is the number of key variables that allowed to share the civil society challenge into Civil society and Governance of the territory. In this phase, microscenarios for each of the 5 challenges were built. For this purpose, 4 leaders (chosen among the territory economical and social actors) were selected to act as co-ordinators, one for each challenge (one had to manage 2 challenges).

Finally, the last phase focused on the building of the global Scenarios for Gipuzkoa by assembling the microscenarios of the 5 challenges and thus give a global vision for the territory : "Scenarios Gipuzkoa 2020: Four Possible Futures for Gipuzkoa".

The exercise used the methodology of the project "Scenarios Europe 2010. Five Possible Futures for Europe" developed by the Forward Studies Unit of the European Commission. (http://europa.eu.int/comm/cdp/index_en.htm)

Selecting Methods

The Gipuzkoa Scenarios 2020 document has been drawn up after three successive phases of analysis. It was based on the scenario building coupled with brainstorming, SWOT analysis, Delphi.

The objective of the first phase (year 2000) was to define the strategic challenges (opportunities and/or threats i.e. SWOT analysis) which Gipuzkoa would have to face in the next 20 years. Group meetings, involving altogether 100 people, were held to hear opinions and criteria from the various sectors of society in Gipuzkoa. People were chosen for these meeting to represent as much as possible the diversity of the society of Gipuzcoa, the different acitivities and opinions. Through these meetings four challenges were identified:

1. Civil society: In later analysis the Civil Society challenge is divided into two: Civil Society and Government. Promoting, structuring and channelling the role of civil society as an agent for generating social awareness of and opinions about growth, development and the quality of life of its members.

2. Education: Deconstruction and remodelling of the current educational system, adaptation and expansion of the range of services provided to meet demand chiefly from adult groups with changing needs.

3. Territory: Structuring an area of quality with the infrastructures required to make Gipuzkoa intra- and inter-connected with its environment.

4. Economic activities: Preparing companies in Gipuzkoa so that they can operate in a global, technological, innovative and environmentally aware setting.

The second phase (year 2001) was dedicated to more thorough documentation and analysis of the challenges that had been identified, and enabled:

The conclusions of the second phase generated a need to analyse hypotheses about how these challenges may develop and what sort of scenarios they might give rise to. To promote this analysis the department of economy and tourism and the back office in charge of the exercise as well as the 4 leaders agreed to break down the Civil Society challenge into two: one with the same name covering issues connected with people, values, attitudes, etc., and another entitled Government that deals with the political perspective.

A series of mini or partial scenarios were specified for each of the five spheres or challenges: Human Capital, Territory, Government, Civil Society and Productive System.

Five analysis groups, with around 10 to 12 people in each one, one for each sphere or challenge, were tasked with drawing up these mini or partial scenarios. This was done by selecting and identifying the key variables and analysing the various development hypotheses like in a regular scenario method. The participants to the group were chosen according to their interest in the exercise, and their representativity in the Gipuzcoan society, i.e. firms, trade union, administration, research, NGO’s representatives (since Gipuzcoa is a rather “small” territory, everybody know each other).

The third phase drawing up the scenarios, took place throughout 2002. Based on these mini scenarios, the co-ordinators of the groups which had drawn them up worked with the heads of the GPC’s Department of Economics and Tourism and the project’s Technical Secretariat to produce the Gipuzkoa 2020 (G2020) Scenarios.

Once the relationship between the mini scenarios and the “power ideas” or the dynamic of each “story” for Gipuzcoa that comprised them had been analysed, four global scenarios were created for Gipuzkoa 2020 (G2020).

The group (the heads of the GPC’s Department of Economics and Tourism, the project’s Technical Secretariat and the 4 challenge leaders) agreed to accept a series of concepts deemed to be determining factors and which cut across all the challenges. These could be classified into two groups.

1) Factors or power ideas which affected Gipuzkoa but on which Gipuzkoa itself had minimal influence. These included trends and major changes such as globalisation, ageing, the scientific and technological revolution, etc.

2) Factors or power ideas where the endogenous capacity for influence was high.

 

Running the Exercise

2.1 Managing Information

Collecting Information

For the first phase the bibliographical review looking at previous territory foresight in other territories and the process used was mainly performed by the scientific and technical back-office.

In the second phase, documenting the variables (key variables influencing each of the challenges) to build the partial scenarios, the documentation collection was mainly done by Prospektiker and the leaders of each challenge group who had a specific budget for this task.

Processing Information

The collected information was processed and mainly synthesized by the scientific and technical back-office for the different challenges groups, so that people in the challenges group could work with information already synthesized.

 

2.2 Managing the Process

Overview of the process

For the first phase (2000) defining the challenges, 5 meetings were held during the year (involving 100 people).

For the second phase, building partial scenarios for the 5 identified challenges, 4 meetings were held with 5 groups (one for each challenge) ranging from 10 to 12 people for each challenge.

The third phase wich aimed at building the global scenarios was mainly performed by the 6 people dedicated to the scientific and technical back-office and the 4 challenges leaders (thus 10 people) during 3 meetings. Also a meeting with each of the 5 “challenge group” was also organized to validate the global scenarios.

Managing Time

The foresight exercise was performed in the planified time schedule. But this is mainly because the scientific and technical back-office decided from the beginning to plan for each phase to be fore a long duration: there was a security margin for each phase.

Managing Relationships

Managing relationships was not a strong difficulty in this exercise. Especially for phase 2, people involved were either paid for this work (people from Prospektiker) or it was part of their job (people from the department of economy and tourism of Gipuzcoa) either were interested in the process (challenge leaders and participants, because they are interested in building the future of their own territory). Also the leaders of the challenges group had the freedom to manage the relationships in their group. This does not mean that the back office didn’t have to give a few phone calls to make sure everything would go smoothly.

Identifying and Selecting Participants

Gipuzkoa had a past history with Foresight exercises: an exercise “Gipuzkoa 2000” had been completed in the past. Thus the first phase involved people and projects representatives who contributed to the previous exercise.

Moreover, Gipuzkoa is a small territory thus people know each other, thus it was easy to detect and invite leaders from the economical and social world as well as independent professionals whose knowledge might help the strategic thinking.

Through the web forum (started at the end of the first phase), it was noticed afterwards that around 20% of the people who participed in this forum and thus were interested in the exercice were not planified or expected. An invitation to participar the web forum was sent to many people but 20% of the people who participated were not directly asked to do so.

Keeping Everyone Informed and Up-to-date

An automatic mailing list was set up to send all the information (technical information for the variables documentation) to all the challenges group participants (especially in phase 2). All the conclusive information was put on the web site.

Day-to-day Monitoring

Day-to-day monitoring was performed by the scientific and technical back-office (6 people) and the 4 leaders of the challenges group were associated for this task in phase 2.

Planning Communications

Public communication of the results (short publication of the main results) and a public presentation meeting took place after the end of the first phase (January 2002).

Then at the end of the exercise (Fe bruary 2003) scenarios were published, a public presentation meeting was held in Gipuzcoa and the regional press communication contributed to the dissemination process. Also presentation and debates were organized with the students of 3 universities to improve the appropriation by the young citizens (the report of the university debates can be found on the web site of the project: http://www.gipuzkoa.net/g2020/es/dokumentuak.html).

 

Implementation and Follow-up

Outcomes

Tangible Outcomes

The tangible outputs of the foresight exercise are reports, a CD-Rom and a web-site with a forum. They present the foresight exercise, its methodology and the four scenarios:

The publications available in English and French are: Scenarios Gipuzkoa 2020: Four Possible Futures for Gipuzkoa.

The rest of the publications are only in Spanish and Basque.

Web Resources: www.g2020.net

Debates might also be considered as tangible outputs: debates about the scenarios were organized with the students in different universities and also within the employer union.

For a majority of stakeholders “Innovative Gipuzkoa” was the scenario that seemed the closest to a wishable or normative scenario.

Intangible Outcomes

Intangible outputs were mainly that people from different sphere or activity world had to work together thereby creating new personnal links. One example might be that through the Governance challenge, politicians worked with civil associations thus creating new links.

Implementing Foresight Recommendations

Dissemination

Public communication of the results (short publication of the main results) and a public presentation meeting took place after the end of the first phase (January 2002).

Then at the end of the exercise (Fe bruary 2003) scenarios were published, a public presentation meeting was held in Gipuzcoa and regional press communication help the dissemination process. Also presentation and debates were organized with the students of 3 universities to improve the appropriation by the young citizens (the report of the university debates can be found on the web site of the project: http://www.gipuzkoa.net/g2020/es/dokumentuak.html)

The publications available in English and French are: Scenarios Gipuzkoa 2020: Four Possible Futures for Gipuzkoa.

The rest of the publications are only in Spanish and Basque.

Web Resources: www.g2020.net

Debates might also be considered as tangible outputs: debates about the scenarios were organized with the students in different universities and also within the employer union.

Sponsors and the Project Team

The final goal of the foresight was to give the main stakeholders a framework to think the future of Gipuzkoa, and think their own future within this framework. The Gipuzkoa Council decided on the strategic options to lead the territory on the path of “Innovative Gipuzkoa”.

In 2005, the Gipuzkoa Council is thinking to update next year the scenarios Gipuzkoa 2020 elaborated in 2003 according to the tangible evolution of the territory and its environment since 2003.

Evaluation

In July 2005, an evaluation was performed by the department of economy and tourism of Gipuzcoa to find out if public policies had evolved according to the “innovative Gipuzkoa” scenario. The results are not public yet.

 

3.2 Following-up on Foresight

Positioning in the Policy Cycle

The foresight exercise led to political decisions from the local Council especially about economical promotion and territory development (space planning) oriented toward “innovative Gipuzkoa” scenario.

Diffusing Foresight Practice

The exercise Gipuzkoa 2020 led to a sectoral foresight on competitivity and technology called OPEN Gipuzkoa which started in the summer of 2004 and is now (autumn 2005) finishing.

The Department of Economy and Tourism of the Gipuzkoa Council promotes the economic activities in and for Gipuzkoa and helps the firms and organizations of the territory in these activities.