8 Steps Towards TRANSFORMATION Agenda

8 steps
At the beginning of the project the TRANSFORM team reflected on its definition of a Smart Energy City with a negligible carbon footprint. This definition also forms the vision of achievements by European Cities at the end of a true TRANSFORM process.
“The Smart Energy City is highly energy and resource efficient, and is increasingly powered by renewable energy sources; it relies on integrated and resilient resource systems, as well as insight-driven and innovative approaches to strategic planning. The application of information, communication and technology are commonly a means to meet these objectives. The Smart Energy City, as a core to the concept of the Smart City, provides its users with a liveable, affordable, climate-friendly and engaging environment that supports the needs and interests of its users and is based on a sustainable economy.” (More background information can be found on the TRANSFORM website)

The really tricky question now is how to attain this vision? The answer should be given by a TRANSFORMATION AGENDA which is subject of our project. It can be anticipated that there will be neither a patent remedy for an individual city nor a general solution matching all European cities.

But the “8 Steps towards TRANSFORMATION AGENDA”, which have been compiled, can offer some guidance for the development of tailor-made TRANSFORMATION AGENDAs suiting the unique character of a city and exploiting its specific strengths. The core of the TRANSFORMATION AGENDA is the establishment of a cycle process which ensures continuous and long-term development towards the vision.

This TRANSFORMATION CYCLE introduces recurring course corrections in order to cope with high rates of change in different areas affecting the Smart Energy City and interruptions by short-term cycles of our society (such as elections). This cycle facilitates a regular adaptation of the TRANSFORMATION AGENDA concept to incorporate innovation and tap complex circumstances step by step.

1 – Setting of targets
The 8 steps begin with a clear definition of targets by each city and an agreement to strive towards these targets by the main political stakeholders. These targets should include short-, medium and long-term components to provide first cornerstones all along the path towards the vision.

2 – Determination of status quo
If the best measures to advance on the TRANSFORMATION track shall be acquired it is necessary to analyse and evaluate the actual state of the city with respect to targets and vision in a second step. The TRANSFORM team works on several elements to perform the determination of status-quo. Information regarding some of these elements such as the Baseline Analysis, Status-Quo-Reports (by Grand Lyon and by Genoa) or the KPI list are already available online. Key stakeholders related to TRANSFORM intentions should be identified and invited to participate in the future process of exploration.

3 – Find focus points to improve development path towards TRANSFORM vision
Distinguishing between differing themes is essential because the TRANSFORMATION AGENDA should focus on the deciding challenges which can really improve the development regarding the city’s targets. Themes, which will make a difference, are likely to comprise tough tasks and tough calls, but are more rewarding when successful. Anyway, TRANSFORMATION AGENDA should not be occasion for postponements but for tackle. As part of the third step the TRANSFORM team applies so called Intake Workshops as a forum for experts to join and examine current initiating challenges with various analysis methods.

4 – Calibration of concept along Guiding Questions
Once the preceding steps are completed some strategic threads should already be available for step 4. The TRANSFORM team has developed a set of Guiding Questions which can then help to balance these threads, to prioritize their elements and to bring them together in a first raw concept.

5 – Adjustment of strategic concept to the city system and increase of impact
A good concept is closely connected with its target system, the city. If many different modes of intervention in the city development can be employed in a concept higher levels of impact are achievable. Step 5 wants to draw attention to the city as a complex adaptive system and to encourage the creators of the concept to search for links and possibilities to intervene sensibly in the system.

6 – Action Plan and Implementation Plan
Actions and measures are the means to transform the superior strategy into reality. Implementation plans concentrate tangible measures spatially and temporally aligned to the short- and medium-term targets. In step 6 these measures are deduced, evaluated and compiled. A great help for the evaluation and decision on the right actions can be the specifically for this purpose developed Decision Support Environment (DSE, read more in detail about the DSE online) provided by TRANSFORM.

7 – Design of procedures for monitoring, evaluation and adaptation
A long planning interval in the range of several decades is the basis to fulfil profound transitions towards goals and the vision of a Smart Energy City. A TRANSFORMATION AGENDA has to overcome the possible obstacle of unclear development in the city with regard to targets and must exploit its long planning interval to tackle far-reaching shifts towards the vision of a Smart Energy City. Thus, a serious monitoring in the cities is needed to determine clearly the progress and the deviation from defined targets in order to evaluate the development path. A strategy which defines reactions on deviations closes the loop to the city. The setup of adequate monitoring procedures and the assignment of responsibilities is subject of step 7.

8 – Composition of the TRANSFORMATION Agenda
Assembly of the results originating from the previous 7 steps leads to the TRANSFORMATION AGENDA in the final step 8. Its strategy focuses on the long-term perspective while its measures direct to the short- and mid-term development of the city. Furthermore the integration of accompanying research, experts and consultants can enhance the agenda’s level of quality. With respect to innovation and creative change management space for niches and experiments should be considered in the strategy. Frontrunners and change agents should be encouraged. Diversity is to be preferred over “one best way”.

TRANSFORM is trying to address and tackle challenges of which the real successes or consequences will maybe only be visible  in a few decades time. If the adventure of TRANSFORM is to be  successful a lot of commitment by people who are willing to take up responsibility is required to deliver the necessary impetus and continuous effort.

Do not hesitate, start with the first steps today.

 Jan Riepe
Hamburg Energie GmbH

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