Interview with policy and governance innovation experts at Madrid and Basque Country Universities

What is the current landscape of innovation in public policies and governance in southern Europe? Which institutions are working on new forms of governance to address climate change? What are they doing and which agents are involved?

These are some of the questions that, in recent months, an interdisciplinary team formed by Gorka Espiau Idoiaga, Fernando Fernandez-Monge, Carlos Mataix, Karmele Olabarrieta and Cecilia Lopez Pablos tried to answer.

Who are you?

Some of us are academics while others are practitioners with very different backgrounds: law, policy, engineering and communications. We work for the Innovation and Technology for  Development Center of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Technical University of Madrid) and the Agirre Lehendakaria Center of the Basque Country University.

What are you working on with EIT Climate-KIC?

We have basically conducted an exploratory scan on the concepts and experiences around this emerging idea called  ‘policy and governance innovation’ adding the experience of action-research centres contributing to sustainable transformation. Some of us are also involved in the Deep Demonstrations of Change Program in Madrid and Mondragon Valley. This helped us frame and focus the research in a way that we hope will be useful for other EIT Climate-KIC colleagues and partners.

Why is this piece of research important for climate innovation?

Climate change is a really complex problem to tackle. We can even call it a wicked problem; perhaps the most wicked problem of our time given that our survival as a species depends on whether we are able to solve it sooner than later. Yet, existing governance structures and policy design mechanisms are ineffective for dealing with this kind of entrenched societal challenge.

In this piece of research, we look at some of the innovations and changes –  both explored by academics and put in practice by governments – to such structures and mechanisms that can help us deal with climate change.

We think that condensing these emerging practices is important because tackling climate change will necessarily require transforming our institutions. Hopefully, people dealing with the hard task of innovating in governance and policy will be able to find some inspiration in this work.

What was the most interesting or surprising thing you discovered in the process of the project?

Perhaps the most interesting thing is the realisation that enacting the kind of systemic change required to tackle climate change necessarily calls for transformations in cultural aspects, beliefs and value systems.

The most interesting innovations we found were those that combine technological solutions with new ways of engaging with citizens. This goes beyond simply enacting participatory mechanisms, and demands an exploration of the narratives and meta-narratives that operate in a community around their real needs and aspirations. The listening and engagement dimension is essential to begin any transformation process, and it is key to build shared transformation narratives.

Despite its centrality, however, it is somewhat surprising to realise the difficult time that public institutions have in establishing mechanisms to address diverse social needs on a regular basis. They often use certain tools (consultation, participatory budget) for specific initiatives or relatively small parts of their budgets, but it is hard to find mechanisms deployed at a systemic level.

Was there anything that particularly gave you hope or inspiration for the fight against climate change?

There’s definitely hope. When we started this research, we quickly realised that there is a large number of ‘experiments’ and people looking for new ways of doing things from very different perspectives and disciplines in Southern Europe, which in and of itself is really great news.

Also, it was particularly inspiring to share our insights in a webinar with colleagues from the EIT Climate-KIC Community and to see the collective wisdom and, perhaps most importantly, motivation, that exists. This is probably our best asset and weapon to tackle climate change, so we should be looking to take advantage of any possibility to enable peer-to-peer learning among the practitioners that are experimenting with the cases such as the ones we’ve chosen. We need to help these committed people break the silos of the institutions in which they work on a daily basis and support each other to continue learning and overcoming barriers.

On the basis of the research, what needs to happen now in the fight against climate change?

There has to be a wide-reaching consensus that technological solutions alone will not get us there. Governments have to be the key enablers of this shift, and that requires changing their own structures and capacities first.

If we leverage the collective wisdom from all the experiences that are currently happening in a scattered manner, we can definitely achieve it.

Check out the research project ‘Policy and Governance Innovation: Definitions and examples in the climate space’ here

 
Location
Articles you may be interested in
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
The radical transformation of the global food system

Global food production threatens climate stability and ecosystem resilience....

The radical transformation of the global food system
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Co-Action carbon capture project opens new field plots

EIT Climate-KIC community member ‘Co-Action,’ a carbon capture project...

Co-Action carbon capture project opens new field plots
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
EIT Climate-KIC launches Call for Proposals to support post-COVID-19 green rec...

EIT Climate-KIC’s ‘Extraordinary Post COVID-19 Regeneration Call 2020’ will...

EIT Climate-KIC launches Call for Proposals to support post-COVID-19 green recovery
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
How to engage citizens in a just transformation process

With climate change, we are facing one of the...

How to engage citizens in a just transformation process
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
EIT Climate-KIC brings the focus on sustainability and Climate Change to Forin...

Sustainability has been the main focus of the thirteenth...

EIT Climate-KIC brings the focus on sustainability and Climate Change to Forinvest
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Madrid: A city turning eco-fictions into eco-futures through systems innovatio...

Three-quarters of European citizens—over 400 million people—live in urban...

Madrid: A city turning eco-fictions into eco-futures through systems innovation
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Call for experts: water scarcity in Southern Europe

EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing, EIT RawMaterials and BioAzul are...

Call for experts: water scarcity in Southern Europe
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
LOOP-Ports project nominated to win IAPH 2020 World Ports Sustainability Award...

The LOOP-Ports project led by the Fundación Valenciaport and...

LOOP-Ports project nominated to win IAPH 2020 World Ports Sustainability Awards
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Malaysia and Estonia win Climathon Global Awards at ChangeNOW summit

The city of Penang, Malaysia, and a team of...

Malaysia and Estonia win Climathon Global Awards at ChangeNOW summit
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
EIT Climate-KIC CEO selected as a top expert to advise the European Commission

Yesterday, the European Commission announced EIT Climate-KIC CEO Kirsten...

EIT Climate-KIC CEO selected as a top expert to advise the European Commission
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Moments matter*

Opinion article BY MICHELLE ZUCKER @MICHELLE_ZUCKER DIRECTOR, COMMUNITY ACTIVATION,...

Moments matter*
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Seed sowed for a voluntary carbon market enhancing sustainable forest manageme...

Forests play a key role on addressing climate change...

Seed sowed for a voluntary carbon market enhancing sustainable forest management in Valencia
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Conectando a las Startups con empresas e inversores

Una de las funciones del programa de aceleración de...

Conectando a las Startups con empresas e inversores
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
The 3rd LOOP-Ports internal meeting is held in the Port Authority of Ravenna

More than 20 different agents from Port Authorities and...

The 3rd LOOP-Ports internal meeting is held in the Port Authority of Ravenna
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
#SuperLabPorts, new Hub in Valencia for innovation and entrepreneurship in Cli...

#SuperLabPorts is already running. Today has taken place the...

#SuperLabPorts, new Hub in Valencia for innovation and entrepreneurship in Climate Change in Ports
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
We’re closing for business in solidarity with #ClimateStrike

EIT Climate-KIC will close this Friday 20 September, the...

We’re closing for business in solidarity with #ClimateStrike
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Recycl3R closes funding round with Swedish company Billerudkorsnäs

The Spanish company recycl3R, who took part in EIT...

Recycl3R closes funding round with Swedish company Billerudkorsnäs
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
The city of Valencia (Spain), the new headquarters of FAO’s world centre...

Her Majesty Queen Leticia of Spain has inaugurated the...

The city of Valencia (Spain), the new headquarters of FAO’s world centre for sustainable urban food
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Innovative Solutions for Municipal Waste Management

In partnership with Ferrovial Servicios and Lipor (Intermunicipal Waste...

Innovative Solutions for Municipal Waste Management
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
“#HIDROCER, building envelope that cools”, kick-off of the next phase of t...

#HIDROCER project starts its next stage in the EIT...

“#HIDROCER, building envelope that cools”, kick-off of the next phase of the project.
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Kirsten Dunlop: “We need to build the narrative of hope to reach the DSGs.”

Kirsten Dunlop, CEO EIT Climate-KIC, participated in Madrid in...

Kirsten Dunlop: “We need to build the narrative of hope to reach the DSGs.”
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
The eighth edition of the Pioneers into Practice kicks off, strengthening the ...

Pioneers is one of the pilot programs that emerged...

The eighth edition of the Pioneers into Practice kicks off, strengthening the community of experts and ensuring the exploitation of the results.
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
“The more quality education there is for all, the more resilient society...

Francisco de la Torre has been Mayor of Malaga...

“The more quality education there is for all, the more resilient society becomes, the more responsive it.”
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
How can joint programming and funding accelerate the shift to a circular econo...

A new project, CICERONE, is bringing together cities, regions,...

How can joint programming and funding accelerate the shift to a circular economy?
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
The 2nd LOOP-Ports internal meeting is held in the Copenhagen Malmö Port

Yesterday the second internal meeting of the European project...

The 2nd LOOP-Ports internal meeting is held in the Copenhagen Malmö Port
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
Jorge Fonseca (FAO): “The consumer has the power to change the unsustainabil...

Jorge Fonseca is Programme Adviser of Food Systems Strategic...

Jorge Fonseca (FAO): “The consumer has the power to change the unsustainability of the food system”
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
How to tackle the financing process of start-ups, a key driver of the financia...

Madrid, 28/9/2018.- It is unquestionable the rise of new...

How to tackle the financing process of start-ups, a key driver of the financial profitability of start-ups
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
The CRISI-ADAPT project establishes a Climate Risk Early Warning System

    The CRISI-ADAPT Kick-Off Meeting was held in...

The CRISI-ADAPT project establishes a Climate Risk Early Warning System
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
The Community for Climate Action meets with Spanish minister Teresa Ribera

EIT Climate-KIC Spain, as a member of the Community...

The Community for Climate Action meets with Spanish minister Teresa Ribera
CLIMATE-KIC NEWS
#HidroCer cools building envelope, lowering the use of air conditioning

Hydro-efficient ceramics #HydroCer, thermoregulate the building envelope by means...

#HidroCer cools building envelope, lowering the use of air conditioning