Under the initiative of the intermunicipal association Leiedal
The 13 cities and municipalities in the South-West Flanders region have a rich history of cooperation, which over the past decades has been continuously inspired and supported by the regional intermunicipal association Leiedal. As part of this approach, Scopernia set up a future vision exercise with the General Managers and their policy teams, looking broadly at the impact of major forces of change in technology and society. This exercise led to a widely supported regional vision, serving as input for the environmental analyses that the municipalities and cities will conduct in the context of the 2024 elections.
A future vision exercise with the General Managers in search of a widely supported regional vision in the run-up to the 2024 elections.
In the run-up to the 2024 elections, the General Managers and their policy teams traditionally compile an environmental analysis. This thorough analysis is based on extensive data, historical information, and citizen surveys. While this approach is a valuable tool, it does not take into account a world that is rapidly changing.
For Leiedal, the regional partner and area developer for South-West Flanders, Scopernia had previously been involved in a vision and strategy exercise aimed at the future of the entire region. Leiedal found it valuable to share the information with the local governments through the General Managers. From this information sharing, the idea arose to further explore the exercise with them towards the local shared challenges from their own reality.
This resulted in a vision day for the General Managers and their policy teams from the cities and municipalities in South-West Flanders, organized by Leiedal and facilitated by Scopernia.
The environmental analysis, based on extensive data, historical information, and citizen surveys, does not account for a world that is in full flux.
This project had two central objectives:
To develop a supported regional future vision that can serve as a starting point for the translation at the level of the individual cities and municipalities and as input for the environmental analyses.
To proactively align the regional dimension within the individual environmental analyses between the local and inter-local partners.
Execution: Creative Future Exploration
In the context of the exercise with Leiedal, various societal forces were identified that could influence the future of the region. For this, Scopernia's solid expertise and methodology were combined with Leiedal's in-depth regional and domain knowledge.
During the vision day with the General Managers and their policy teams, the forces were explored in areas such as technology, digitalization, artificial intelligence, climate, housing, work, mobility, diversity, polarization, and so forth.
We then went through a co-creative process where we explored and assessed the impact of these societal forces on the region, taking into account the peculiarities of the involved cities and municipalities. What do these forces mean for our region, and how do they translate to our municipalities and cities? What impact do they have on citizens and businesses? What are the implications for our policy, and are we prepared for this? This process led to a detailed impact analysis and a shared interpretation of the challenges that lie ahead for the cities and municipalities in South-West Flanders.
The final step in the exercise was the translation of the impact analysis into an inspiring future story that provides the foundation for further action planning at both the local and regional level and that serves as an addition to the traditional environmental analyses.
During the vision day with the General Managers, the forces were explored in areas such as technology, digitalization, artificial intelligence, climate, housing, work, mobility, diversity, polarization, and so forth.
This case underscores the importance of regional cooperation and future-oriented thinking. It highlights that historical data are no longer sufficient in a rapidly changing world and that creative and critical thinking about the future is crucial for a comprehensive and supported policy.
It illustrates the success of our co-creation approach, where visionary expertise and regional knowledge come together to create a supported regional future vision and strengthen regional cooperation. It offers a valuable model for others striving for resilient and proactive local and regional development.
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Do you see the importance of a future vision exercise as an additional tool in your environmental analysis?