Identifying and engaging the right stakeholder mix:
Identifying the stakeholder mix is arguably the most crucial factor in ensuring the success of the solution co-creation process. If your city only consults with existing suppliers, your city will probably only discover what it already knows. Your city should consider engaging with individuals, organisations and communities in different geographies and service sectors. Engaging all relevant stakeholders from the public sector, private sector, academia, NGOs and civil society at the pre-procurement stage will increase long-term buy-in from all relevant stakeholders. Including multi-sector stakeholders will help to address development in a holistic way but may not be appropriate if the challenge is too technical for all participants to contribute.
In-person discussions and workshops are usually more productive and attract senior employees looking to network. During a co-creation workshop, it is beneficial to mix up international and local solution providers, the former bringing new ideas and the latter bringing local, contextual experience. It is also beneficial to allow time for discussion and analysis across working groups at workshops, as participants gain a broader perspective from other ideas and are able to build upon them. With a room full of people with differing backgrounds and opinions, it is important to keep the atmosphere light and break up co-creation sessions with networking opportunities and talks from experts and key city players. In the past, City Solutions Platform workshop participants have emphasised that the opportunity to discuss and challenge the ideas of like-minded individuals at the workshop was incredibly valuable; ensure there is plenty of time for this.
Another thing to consider is involving other cities which share similar climate challenges. By sharing knowledge of the problem, barriers and stakeholders, cities can learn from each other and scale solutions across broader geographies. As a pioneer or lead city, you can pave the way to good practice in designing solutions to solve your climate challenge and raise your city’s profile. Solution providers will see involving additional cities as a benefit – offering a broader market to potentially scale-up their solutions in.