Social Innovation Platform in Sant Lluís, Menorca | first sensemaking and co-creation sessions

ALC collaborates in Sant Lluís (Menorca) to create a space for citizen experimentation that addresses tourist seasonalization

ALC has been piloting a new working model with the Sant Lluís municipality in Menorca so that its actions are more connected with the local community. From the institution, it was proposed to apply an innovative participation approach that makes Sant Lluis a pioneer as a space for advanced experimentation at an international level in innovative processes around deseasonalization.

It is a challenge and a global need (to generate different types of socioeconomic activity throughout the year) whose objective would be advanced knowledge and new sources of investment, giving visibility to the municipality beyond tourism. During the last six months, ALC has developed, in collaboration with the municipality, a deep listening process through different channels. In this process, the narratives that are operating in the territory have been collected, that is, the underlying values and behaviors, as well as the emerging needs and challenges, to take into account in future actions.

Collective Interpretation session

Starting from the listening process developed last year, the Platform agents organized different face-to-face sessions of collective interpretation. These sessions consist of sharing the results of the listening process with a wider local community, in order to contrast and enrich them. Each sensemaking session happens after the completion of each listening iteration. The objective is to share the challenges and opportunities identified with the agents and representatives of the community , so we can gather ideas of what is missing.

Different people, representatives of entities and residents of the municipality attended the session on May 11. Among the participants were members of associations, public entities, members of the retiree club, members of local tourism and business owners, who contrasted the analysis presented and discussed key ideas: participation, physical meeting spaces, identity, strengths, opportunities, challenges and solutions. An important thematic focus has been that of the intergenerational connection between citizens.

In this first session of collective interpretation, it has been confirmed that Sant Lluís has the collective motivation to understand what is happening in the municipality in order to transform itself.

Co-creation session

With the information collected through listening, the mapping, as well as that contrasted in the collective interpretation session, five main thematic areas (arches) have been identified:

  • Culture, leisure, tourism, gastronomy
  • Economic activities
  • Sustainability
  • Services and wellness

Most of the existing initiatives in Sant Lluís operate at a service level, identifying that many of them are promoted by the municipality (supplying, for the most part, the activities programming leadership). A key focus on sustainability has been identified, related to economic activities, campaigns (educational and cultural). There is also a territorial disconnection between the urban area and the coast. Due to its summer tourist focus, the coast is devoid of basic services during the winter and all tourist, cultural and leisure programming is relegated to summer.

The participants identified more initiatives that are operating in the territory and at the same time proposed: (1) education on gastronomy for young people, (2) more cultural leadership to organize activities (so not everything depends on the municipality) (3) improvement of paper-digital communication of available services (4) more connection of inland tourism-coast-nucleus.

The mapping on the cartography of the region came as a surprise to many participants who were not aware of the variety of local activities and associations.

These sessions have been identified as an ideal space to continue exploring citizen participation and consultation from a new portfolio approach of interconnected initiatives, with the idea of transferring it to spaces beyond the municipality. It should be noted that the majority of participants, as well as the narratives identified in the listening, pointed out precisely the lack of spaces for exchange and general debate. The participants have thus shown their enthusiasm for the next phase of the Platform. These types of sessions could be a great opportunity to bring together different stakeholders and find the best way to combine their competitiveness with collaboration.

Next steps

• Deeper listening. A second iteration of interviews and channels that enrich the listening process. After the first co-creation sessions, missing information will be identified and the second iteration of interviews will be designed accordingly. • To systematize open spaces for deliberation and collective interpretation. • A co-creation process based on profiles, in order to build a portfolio of multilevel initiatives focused on people.