Etorkizuna Eraikiz (Building the Future)
This case was submitted as part of the Call for Innovations, an annual partnership initiative between OPSI and the UAE Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation (MBRCGI)
The Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa presents the program entitled Etorkizuna Eraikiz (Building the Future) as an innovative program for a more open and collaborative governance. Etorkizuna Eraikiz incorporates public deliberation with the citizenship for the design of public policies, ensuring the effectiveness, efficiency and plurality of this participation. The program consists of an active experimentation exercise to develop the future of the territory.
The deep crisis (economic, social, cultural, etc.), in which Europe and Gipuzkoa have been immersed since 2007, obliges governments to face a necessary transformation to meet the needs of the society regarding the future.
Adapting to continuous and abrupt changes requires a strong will to reinvent ourselves, as well as a clear orientation to gradually improve the capacity of the public system to do and not stop doing what the society expects of us. Reinventing governments should show us new organizations that develop innovative public services, respond effectively to the needs of the citizens, manage scarce resources and offer a new concept of public value.
In this context, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa presents the program entitled Etorkizuna Eraikiz, within the Strategic Management Plan 2015-19, as an innovative program for a more open and collaborative governance. The program incorporates public deliberation with the citizenship for the design of public policies, ensuring the effectiveness, efficiency and plurality of this participation.
The Etorkizuna Eraikiz program consists of an active experimentation exercise (pilot experiences) through projects that offer answers to current needs but also provide a shared foresight about the economic, social and political future of the territory. Through these projects, strategic challenges will be faced and new public policies will be designed, in line with and more relevant to citizenship's needs.
Thus, two types of initiatives are proposed:
GipuzkoaLAB, a prospective exercise that helps to build public policies and faces the strategic challenges of the future in the medium term.
Gipuzkoa Taldean seeks to identify the demographic, economic and social challenges that the territory will face in the near future (in the medium term). The objective is to propose a shared reflection with all the agents of the territory, in which the key-ideas for the future direction of Gipuzkoa are identified in a global way.
The Etorkizuna Eraikiz program also includes three elements or initiatives that will provide transversal support to the two pillars mentioned, these are:
• The active process of international benchmarking, (Nazioarteratze Sarea)
• Shared reflection among the main actors of the innovation policy ecosystem. (Ikergunea)
• Debate, diffusion and socialization of the main challenges of the territory of Gipuzkoa (Gizartaratze Prozesua)
The main objective is to strengthen the capabilities of Gipuzkoa and cope, collaborately, with the challenges that the territory faces.
Meanwhile, specifics objectives are:
• Defining a public agenda with topics that are relevant to competitiveness, sustainability and cohesion of Gipuzkoa, approached with participatory dynamics, that may results in new public policies
• Strengthening the capacity of Gipuzkoa to meet its future challenges, promoting together with the economic and social agents the reflection and strategic management. Collective working supported on the knowledge and participation of people, with the objective of defining Gipuzkoa in 2026.
During these three years of implementation, the international contrast has been an important element to improve the programme. Thus, experiences from Norway. Sweden, Australia, Colombia, UK, France, Denmark, among others have been consulted to enrich the program.
In short, Etorkizuna Eraikiz represents a new way of thinking, working, sharing and governing from policy-making, to offer real solutions to the current challenges.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Etorkizuna Eraikiz represents a new way of thinking, working, sharing and governing. Etorkizuna Eraikiz is:
A relational space tackling public issues where work teams are focused on people;
An active exercise of foresight;
A space of co-creation and co-design;
Lab Experiences; and
Empowerment of citizenship.
A new mean of territorial governance through a model of Quadruple Hélix:
Companies involved through Gipuzkoa Lab;
Citizens participating in a more modern and participatory way of policy-making;
Universities pushing the process through Ikergune; and
Government articulating the diverse type of public bodies.
What is the current status of your innovation?
Etorkizuna Eraikiz currently is within its fifth year of implementation. After the first year of analysis and definition of the programme, Etorkizuna Eraikiz started implementing projects in 2016. During these three last years, a wide campaign to put the programme into the territorial agenda has been developed and has resulted in the engagement of local companies, local administrations, universities, social organizations and citizens. Nowadays, the efforts are focused on the sustainability of the project in the belief that Etorkiuna Eraikiz has come to stay.
Collaborations & Partnerships
Citizens. More than 25.000 peoples have participated in the program somehow. The projects have been designed and developed by more than 3,000 people (included workers)
Government officials. The Cabinet Office of the General Deputy, the Department of Governance and the Deparment of Territorial Development fully involved in the programme.
Cicil society organizations are running
Companies. More than 380 companies engaged.
Universities. The 4 basque universities are participating in the programme.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Companies benefits by putting into practices measures to promote workplace innovation resulting in more commitment of the employees.
Citizens by participating directly in the design of public policies and the definition of the challenges of the territory.
Social organizations by experimenting with new solutions to tackle social problems.
Governments officials by putting into practice social listening in the development of programs, rules and projects.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Etorkizuna Eraikiz is already transforming the governance model of Gipuzkoa. The way to build public policies in a collaborative way, between the Provincial Council and society as a whole, is underway. Etorkizuna Eraikiz over its 3 years of implementation: has got the following results:
• Development of 5 strategic projects through the creation of 5 reference centres in cybersecurity, ageing, audiovisual creation, electromobility and digital gastronomy.
• 20 pilot projects in the field of conciliation and the participation of workers developed with the participation of 20 companies and around 2,500 workers.
• Support for the experimentation solutions to concrete problems through the public funding of more than 60 projects since 2016.
• Creation of Etorkizuna Eraikiz Gunea first laboratory of public policies in the State.
More than 25.000 people have participated in the activities somehow.
Challenges and Failures
Etorkizuna Eraikiz is a challenging programme and therefore in its implementation, many problems and contradictions have appeared. The challenges Etorkizuna Eraikiz faces are:
Connecting with society. We need to communicate this new paradigm and people have to understand it.
Creation of an interactive space to promote collaboration. There is a lack of real culture of collaboration. People have to internalize this new way of building the future.
The third challenge comes from the inside of the government. It is important to have committed and well-formed civil servants. Up to date, we find very vertical structures in government. If Etorkizuna Eraikiz hopes to be a model of future it is crucial to apply a new conceptualisation of the administration.
The fourth one is the design of a new methodology to make a follow-up to these new forms of relationship.
The last one is a necessity to generate conditions for the co-creation.
Conditions for Success
Etorkizuna Eraikiz is not a simple and easy programme. It faces multiple and diverse challenges and problems. For this reason, it is imperative to have the support of the political, social and economic actors, especially from those in charge of defining public policies.
Firstly, one of the most important conditions for Sucess of Etorkizuna Eraikiz is the commitment and the firm bet of the Deputy of the Provincial Government of Gipuzkoa on it. A solid leadership and guidance are essential to carry out the programme successfully.
Secondly, the support of the citizenship is always a challenge itself but in the case of Etorkizuna Eraikiz, it is mandatory. The commitment of the citizenship to participate in the programme and to work collaboratively to design public policies is fundamental to deploy a new governance. Future challenges are defined and tackled down together, the governments and the society, based on the deliberation and the dialogue in a space of co-creation.
Etorkizuna Eraikiz could be replicated in other territories as a source of strengthening democracy. It is an exemplary model of a new way of governance, based on the following elements:
- A previous and detailed analysis was elaborated in order to have a clearer understanding of the problems and challenges we face.
- The commitment of different actors such as academia, the private sector, governmental institutions, and social organizations in the deployment of the Quadruple Helix model.
- Allocation of real funds for the development of the programme.
- A strong communication campaign to inform and engage citizens in the programme.
- Shared values between politicians and society regarding the future of the territory.
Deploying a program such as Etorkizuna Eraikiz demands a strong commitment and a clear leadership. The way to change actual paradigms of governance is full of obstacles and difficulties, therefore, it is necessary to leave the political interest apart and work together for a new reality.
One vital aspect is to apply the active social listening. It is mandatory not just to listen to society but to engage society in the process of building the future. To do this, it is important to communicate clearly and directly. People need to understand what these new times are demanding and have to be prepared for a new way of a relationship between government, companies, universities, social organizations and citizens.