Gipuzkoa deep demo

Listening process within the framework of the Etorkizuna Eraikiz initiative: we have received almost 800 key references​

Agirre Lehendakaria Center works in the Etorkizuna Eraikiz initiative developed by the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa. Gipuzkoa is presented as a space for advanced experimentation in two of the main missions that have been identified: food and mobility.

Agirre Lehendakaria Center contributes to the work carried out by two companies, Idom and AZTI, partners of the Provincial Council in these two missions.


In this other article we talked about the mapping work developed in this process.


This time we will talk about the process of listening to the narratives.


Listening process and analysis of narratives

Information was collected through different listening channels. 

The listening process began at the end of 2022 around the food mission and has been developed in several stages.

In the first step, rapid interviews and group discussions were conducted to detect initial narratives.
Subsequently, the network of participants was expanded through the snowball effect, i.e., adding new contacts recommended by the initial participants and also adding a listening channel to the process, both those corresponding to first-level sources and secondary sources.

Among the various listening channels implemented in 2023, the launch of a listening channel based on the Life Journey methodology stands out. With regard to the Life Journey methodology, this new channel has made it possible to collect information throughout the year that is relevant to both mobility and sustainable food missions.

This monitoring made it possible to obtain information on food mobility and behaviors and to collect their behaviors and dynamics together with the speeches of individuals and groups through observations, photographs and video notes, among others. In this way, it has been possible to verify the difference between what they say and what they do.

In addition, thanks to this methodology they have been able to spend a few hours with these people and have had time to change the "tone" of the conversation, having more possibilities to reach in-depth perceptions and questioning and questioning about what is being done in practice during the interview. In this way, we are closer to the essence of the needs and challenges of the territory and their deep understanding.  


In these follow-ups and interviews, 65 people or entities have been spoken to directly, of which 26 people have been followed up on a daily basis. 

From the transcripts of these dialogues (and from the listenings collected in the interpretation sessions), 738 key quotes have been extracted and subjected to a narrative analysis to see if they refer to a dynamic of challenges, barriers, possibilities, fluctuations or power, and also to analyze the similarities between narratives, differences, frequency of certain types of narratives, cause-effect and other criteria. 

In addition, 93 secondary sources of information have been collected; reports, derived from the media or social networks, photographs or observations, etc., have been the channels for collecting these sources of information.n. 

Ethnographic profiles to show patterns of narratives

With all this information, a general analysis of the narratives has been carried out in order to know the superficial, hidden and metanarratives existing in the territory. 


All this information has been used to elaborate patterns of narratives that have been visualized by means of ethnographic profiles, thus reflecting that people perceive the same reality in very different ways. These are not definitive profiles, but are constantly being updated by deepening the listening and interpreting in group discussions (experimental groups have been used as a first contrast exercise). 

These differences and similarities experienced by the territory are represented under ethnographic profiles.


The ethnographic profiles have the following characteristics:

  • These profiles represent narratives that are repeated.
  • Profiles are based on the study of narratives. They are not just based on demographic data or quantitative analysis: they represent joint patterns of perception, behavior and thinking.
  • These profiles/people try to represent diversity of age, social origin and profession as groups of people. We give them name, face and profession/sector, more or less eloquently, but the narratives about certain domains (employment, culture, services) are not limited to that domain alone. For example, the narratives of consumers (first profile), the perceptions expressed in them as belonging to a young woman, are also of more adult people, also of men, or of baserritarras working in the primary sector. In fact, many of them share the perceived opportunities and challenges.
  • Each profile has below it a key idea, a set of identified opportunities and challenges, and an important quotation 
  • All this information expresses perceptions. This means that they do not necessarily agree with the objective data that exist about the territory and that, at times, they may also be at odds with each other. However, all these narratives influence and, ultimately, condition the success/failure of the activities in the environment.


What the narratives tell us

The statements obtained in this listening process show different narratives.

The summary is as follows


Society is unwilling to give up comfort for sustainability

"I think people are willing to do it as long as it is not a big effort. 

On the one hand, that it doesn't have a big impact on your pocket, and on the other hand, that it doesn't break your routine.” 

This profile responds to the areas of food and mobility. In fact, Josune complains about the model of society we have in general and implies that we need to rethink the model of society we have. Nowadays there is no longer time for anything due to the pace of life, which influences mobility but also cooking and she says that there is no longer time to devote to cooking. He sees the new generations as an opportunity, he believes they have more awareness and stresses the need to help small producers and local businesses.

The solution lies in regulating the consumption of products and prices

“There are people who don't give a damn and people who take very much into account. If they taxed what is detrimental to everyone, those who do not do it would do it for the dough.”

The price of food is an insurmountable obstacle to greater consumption of local products and believes that it is closely linked to purchasing power. In this sense, he places all the responsibility in the hands of the administrations or other agents and points out that it is necessary to focus them towards scenarios in which the consumer should not have to make any effort. He also proposes changes in regulation as an opportunity to reduce the price of local products or to increase the price of external products.

The reality does not correspond to the ideal of the baserritarras and the proximity: we import 90% of our products

Gipuzkoa is not a self-sufficient territory, only in eggs, chickens and fish (canned food). In the rest of the things, 90% of the food is imported. This clashes with the "romantic" idea of the "baserritarra", of that local product.

Carmen states that the image that is sold of native foods does not coincide with reality and asks for more help for the food industry. She raises the challenge of improving coordination and measuring from the beginning the social and environmental impact of the new products that are generated. In addition, this profile contemplates two main options: to facilitate access to existing aid and incentives and that existing certificates be clear and standardized. 

In some regions of Gipuzkoa it is impossible to live without a car

“Today I cannot live without a car. We have the possibility of a flexible schedule because we have a car. With the bus it would be more difficult to reconcile.”

Ander is a citizen of the valley of Debagoiena and complains about the connections of the region with other territories of Gipuzkoa. The main challenge for this is the improvement of public transport, both in terms of existing structures and the schedules and frequencies offered by the current one. In any case, Ander is a proactive profile and speaks of the need for a change of lifestyle. Along with this, he also asks to increase the use of bicycles, but not as a leisure area for walks but as an alternative to a fast and efficient mobility. 

The working conditions for the baserritarras are precarious; if this does not improve, we cannot talk about sustainability

When organic producers in Guipúzcoa, the vast majority are not reaching the minimum wage, well, you tell me. That model is not sustainable and may be making a product or a very healthy food, but that economic model, that model of food, is not sustainable.

This profile indicates that improving the working conditions of the baserritarras should be a top priority. The fundamental challenge is the lack of generational change, young people do not come to replace those who retire and the profession has hardly any prestige in society. He says that the public administration has to get involved in this issue and that it is the moment to make important decisions, since there will be less and less people dedicated to the primary sector. He proposes two options. On the one hand, to make clear which is the local product and to create a common regulation in this respect and to value and to impel the existing product and consumption.

There is a lot of uncertainty about the mobility and food of the future

"My car is already a few years old and I will have to change it soon. I would not know what to buy, I am not sure about the electric car. On the one hand, because the fossil fuel is still super established and I would not know where to charge the car and then how long it takes to charge, how much autonomy it has... The car does not produce emissions but to manufacture it how much has been emitted, how many minerals... and when the battery breaks, how much does it cost to change it? I think I would buy gasoline or diesel.

Amaia says that there is much debate about the future and that these debates reach society with contradictory and confusing messages. In the case of food, she talks about the clash between two models, ecological or conventional (hydroponic) and says that if we talk about sustainable, not everything goes. Along with this, Amaia also claims a fair transformation, adding to the table the different existing purchasing powers and claiming that we should not be left on the backs of some collective transformations. As an option, in the case of food, the cooperative model sees them as more sustainable and underlines as key the lowering of mobility needs, giving importance to the concept of 15-minute cities.