8 focal points for new approaches to economic development…

The Rebonds survey is in full swing, and we’re exploring each of the 8 paradigm shifts we mapped out at the start of the program, which we feel are needed to re-engage local economic development policies with the challenges of ecological transition and social justice. In teams of 2 to 5 agents in charge of economic development within the 10 participating local authorities, we cross the views of different territories, their elected representatives and agents, with those of practitioners, researchers or experts in order to question and enrich our initial intuitions. To this end, we’ve narrowed each theme down to a few of the most useful and fruitful angles. Here’s an overview, still impressionistic, but hopefully useful.

#1 Donut economics, regenerative economics, community weath building … What to do use new models models for thinking about economic development in terms of a region’s long-term needs? needs?

How can we rethink our economic development policies, focusing more on covering needs than on growth? A variety of new theoretical frameworks are now seeking to think differently about territorial development: sustainable development objectives defined by the UN, planetary and social limits with, in particular, doughnut economics, the circular economy, the economy of functionality and cooperation, the regenerative economy, community wealth building, and so on. They vary in their assumptions and biases, in the degree to which they aim to transform traditional approaches to economic development, in the role of the public player and in the way they are embodied in territorial approaches.

Howcan these modelsbe useful, for example, in reformulating a region’s problems, putting visions and choices up for debate, and creating a collective, mobilizing narrative? ? What compass do we use to find our way around and understand their major orientations, the levers they activate, their points of divergence, the controversies they raise? What concrete objects of economic development policies can they illuminate and/or shake up? Under what conditions can the narrative they propose be transformative for the territory? To explore these questions, we have chosen to explore three models: community wealth building, the donut and the regenerative economy.

To explore this theme, we spoke with Olivier Bouba Olga, economist and head of the studies and forecasts department of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, Virginie Raisson-Victor, president of the IPCC Pays de la LoireGabriel Renault, researcher at the Pacte laboratory, the Convention des entreprises pour le Climat Ouestthe firm immaTerra.

Administrative objects to look at: #Public procurement #Assessment #Economic development zone

#2 What alliances can local authorities and economic players forge to reduce social inequalities?

Under what conditions can economic development policies help reduce inequalities and promote inclusion? How can we help companies to take greater account of employment and integration issues, and more broadly of their territorial responsibilities? Against a backdrop of sharp local and even sub-national disparities in terms of employment, how can we territorialize social issues and encourage the development of forward-looking territorial management of jobs and skills? When responsibilities for integration, employment, training, etc. are dispersed between different levels, what tools and governance should be mobilized to support a more strategic approach by public players in the same area?

What new ways are there of mobilizing economic players to take better account of the region’s long-term needs, stimulate local employment and support community initiatives? “Territorial corporate responsibility”, “territorial foundations”, “employerability/employability”… levers and tools are emerging/developing to strengthen the territorial roots of companies, and work with them on local employment and integration issues. From the point of view of local authorities, how can we build dialogue with the new entrepreneurial collectives ( Mouvement Impact France, Convention des Entreprises pour le Climat, etc.), vectors of a new territorial parity? Finally, what levers can be used to rethink key services for the region?

To explore these topics, we conducted interviews with : The Maison de l’insertion et de l’emploi de Lyon, Metz Mécènes solidaires, the Metz Métropole territorial foundation, the city and metropolis of Nancy, France Urbaine, ANRU, Yannick L’Horty, researcher/economist specializing in employment issues and the evaluation of public policies.

Objects and interfaces to explore: #public procurement and inclusion clauses; #tools for measuring and making visible discrimination in employment #territorial foundations

#3 How can we overcome the logic of economic competition between territories?

What levers can be used to transform the balance of power between metropolises and adjacent territories, towards new forms of reciprocity and more balanced cooperation? In what way does the scarcity of resources, and developments such as ZAN, represent an opportunity for shared urban/rural thinking?

There are at least three ways in which we believe we can take this issue further. The first would be to make these reciprocity issues more tangible by gathering local data and their representations (maps, tools, tables, databases), but also to identify the data we lack to identify territories’ spheres of influence, their degree of dependence, flows, etc. The second would be to identify the factors that influence these reciprocal relationships. The second would be to explore these new cooperative ventures as a set of new skills to be developed within current and future development teams. The third would be to explore the specific role of elected representatives in these forms of cooperation: what are their needs, should they be trained and equipped to cooperate more effectively?

To explore the subject, interviews have already been conducted (Magali Talandier, Caroline Bouvard, Metro, Franck Muratet, Grand Nancy, Jean-Pierre Ferrante, CEO Subtran, and others are in the pipeline (Hélène Maury, head of alliances at Nantes Métropole, Martin Vanier, geographer).

Inspiring reading :
A report
featuring examples of urban-rural cooperation in Europe, produced by the Eurocities networkFrance Stratégies reports, etc.

Administrative objects to look at: data available in current local economic plans and atlases; training tools for agents and elected representatives (e.g. a new new generation” economic development training project at the CNAM)

#4 Piloting land sobriety, at the crossroads of uses?

The multiple crises we are experiencing are challenging our relationship with resources that were once perceived as unlimited. Among these, the perception of land as scarce is relatively recent in France, where development, particularly for economic purposes, has been particularly space-consuming. Zero Net Artificialization” prompts developers to reconsider their relationship with the land and with others. Faced with a constrained stock of land, land development will have to make choices not only on economic grounds, but also in the light of criteria linked to soil quality, recycling and the ecosystem services it provides. In our view, the challenge is to move away from a purely arithmetical and siloed approach (thematic and geographical) to sobriety, in favor of a more systemic and cross-disciplinary, forward-looking and collective approach, informed by the challenges of ecological and societal transitions.

How can land policy take soil quality into account? (fertility, pollution, water management, clay, erosion, climatic risks), their geographical location (proximity to an energy source, land pressure, political dynamics) their social uses (land use; land class struggles), while taking into account agricultural, economic and livability issues? What indicators, tools (statistics, cartography) and increased skills are needed to develop more objective, shared and reasoned regional land policies? What kind of land policy governance should be adopted to renew dialogue and rebuild trust between the various stakeholders, including civil society? Would it be useful to highlight the points of tension and conflict between different land uses and the models that underpin them, in order to move towards a different kind of land management?

How can we represent the points of tension and conflict between different land uses and the models that underpin them? How to mobilize engineering and skills, even in small communities necessary for more strategic, customized land management, and to help the emergence of activities and uses that are more respectful of the land? Can we at last rethink the role and tools of the economic developer, so as to design new modes of dialogue andinteraction with economic players, address conflicts and build a collective sense of purpose around the issue of land sobriety?

Our first exchanges were with the mayor of Lagruère, who discussed the temporary use of unused gravel pit land for organic farming projects; with the Etablissement Foncier de la Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine, a major player in regional land policies; with a farmer-viticulturist who is a member of the Farms of the Garonne network, committed to sustainable soil management; and with the director of a group of 200 agricultural producers committed to innovation and meaning.

Administrative objects to look at: #Territorial food plan #Observatories #SCIC #Planning …

# 5 What tools are available to support the transition of businesses in your area?

Economic developers have a wide range of tools at their disposal (taxation, regulations, financial aid, labeling, economic promotion, etc.) to support and accompany companies in their territories in their transition process, whether collectively or individually. However, we can legitimately wonder about the effectiveness and respective capacities of these tools to produce change, drive or amplify the necessary transformations (in terms of organization, management, governance, etc.), over and above support for product or service innovations. What’s more, certain levers, which are generally not the responsibility of the same department within the local authority (public purchasing strategy in particular), seem to be more difficult to integrate into the eco devotee’s toolbox.

In particular, this group explores uses and effects of networking, CSR impact measurement/self-assessment tools and incentives for cooperationWe also look at the contribution that methods and disciplines such as cognitive science can make to small businesses. More broadly, the aim is to examine how one tool (or, more likely, a set of tools) can leverage a large number of companies.

Our first exchanges: a researcher and head of the Mutations Economiques project in the region, who has worked in particular on aid to industry; the business services department of a metropolis that has tested the Impact score; a researcher-practitioner in cognitive sciences; an SCIC …

# 6 How can we re-politicize the evaluation of economic development policies?

Can evaluation work, on the one hand, and the use of new indicators, on the other, contribute to a shift in economic development policies towards greater consideration of ecological and social issues? Although economic development policies are regularly evaluated, this is done more from the point of view of the effectiveness of existing measures than their impact, and even less to shed light on the parties and visions underpinning them, since employment remains the main issue under consideration. New indicators are increasingly being developed and tested, with the aim of providing a framework for interpreting sustainability, habitability and resilience. These indicators give little or marginal consideration to economic dimensions (by focusing on food, for example).

Among the questions we would like to explore: What conditions need to be met if evaluation is to make a greater contribution to informing the choices and impacts of economic development policies, and to the debate? What levers can be used to strengthen the ‘educational’ role of local authorities in the economic field, in line with the use of new indicators? What if we opened up our assessment services to citizen referrals, so as to be able to question the aims and impacts of economic development?

To shed light on these issues, we interviewed Quadrant Conseil; the urban planning agency of the European Metropolis; the evaluation department of an EPCI; PTCE Figeacteurs; the Audencia Chair; the Valence-Romans conurbation and the City of Grenoble, both of which are experimenting with the Donut on their territory.

Administrative objects to look at: #evaluation #new indicators #training

# 7 How can a shared strategy emerge among the various economic players in a given region?

The great diversity of cultures, values and models held by economic players based in the same region is today difficult to translate into economic governance structures. However, ecological and social issues require us to go beyond these differences to create more collective dynamics and shared transition strategies.

This group focuses on informal, tailor-made and case-by-case cooperation and pooling, as well as on cooperation and pooling within traditional representative bodies or large corporate “clubs”.. What can we expect from these new cooperative ventures? What role can or should local authorities play in initiating or supporting these dynamics? How can it use the concept of corporate territorial responsibility (CRT) to support this change in practices? How can we rely on our employees who are committed to these transitions as citizens? It also looks at the place to be given to “alternative” players or those perceived as minorities (SSE, micro-businesses, training and integration structures, etc.) in economic development policies.

Our first exchanges: researcher Maryline Filippi, who works on Territorial Corporate Responsibility, SCOP Alma, the Beausoleil company, ArianeGroup, the director of the Invest in Bordeaux economic development agency…

# 8 What theories and methods are needed to tackle the complex problems of economic development?

Redirecting economic development towards ecological and social goals poses a set of highly complex problems – for example, breaking out of our usual divisions on growth, freeing ourselves from silo-based organizations, rethinking our visions of employment, attractiveness, territorial balance, the use of subsidies, land and increasingly scarce natural resources… This complexity calls for transformations that are at once individual, collective and institutional, and for which our Cartesian approaches are ill-suited. Other, more iterative and experimental methods have in common that they seek to treat problems at their roots rather than just their symptoms, or to encourage cooperation rather than competition. Our aim is to make the concepts associated with systemic problems sufficiently concrete, and to familiarize ourselves with a range of methods of public transformation, often emerging in Europe and the rest of the world, that can better address these problems.

To explore these questions in greater depth, we are looking into the possibility of developing pedagogical tools, compasses and instruments that would enable us to make the principles of systems thinking, as they might apply to new economic development policies, more accessible. At the same time, we are seeking to gain a better understanding of the characteristics of a number of methods used to tackle complex problems: experimental governance, mission-based innovation, social R&D, participative action research, systemic design, etc.

Our interviews: with the Donut Theory animators in Romans and Valence, and soon with Coralie Gervaise (ex-UCL in London), Laura Douchet (Ellyx), etc.

Some useful reading: a better understanding of “wicked problems”, the example of the “ACDC” program on systems thinking run by the Fondation du France, an article by Christian Bason (Danish Design Center) to familiarize yourself with innovation by mission…

Administrative objects to look at: classic “project management” training, the skills of innovation departments in dealing with complex problems (e.g. R&D mission at MEL), new economic development agencies currently being created (e.g. Agence de développement et des transitions, in Montpellier)…



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