The urban transition approach


TwentyOne offers an approach which is based on both transition and innovation management. This approach builds upon experience through collaboration with DRIFT. The urban transition approach that is central in the TwentyOne method consists of seven steps, where the focus is adapted to the specific project and context.

An iterative process

The urban transition approach can be considered an iterative process where every step ends with a go-no decision: is there enough potential to invest time, money and energy in the next step? The level of concreteness and (financial) support increases as the levels are completed (see figure below).

Evidence based tooling

TwentyOne provides changemakers with evidence based tooling and assistance where needed. This enables a more efficient and effective preparatory process (step 1 until 4) to reach conclusive business cases faster and finally scale-up their results (step 7). Ultimately TwentyOne steers at a self-sustaining system wherein a network of changemakers interactively exchange the lessons learned on the up-scaling process and learn from each other’s experiences. The steps will be explained in detail in the next section.

The steps

In this section each step from the figure will shortly be explained.

Step 1:  Analysis of the Challenge
A challenge is an issue, problem or opportunity identified within the TwentyOne network, preferably with the support of the local changemakers, also known as affiliates. On the basis of a number of stakeholder interviews a global challenge is described, an objective is formulated and the client is given an active role in the follow-up process.

Step 2: Identify & Mobilse Stakeholders
The affiliate inventories stakeholders involved in the challenge in the broadest sense. Ideally, these stakeholders are arranged in:

• Government (municipal, provincial, national)
• Business stakeholders (SMEs, Corporates)
• Citizens (residents, direct users)
• Semi Government (Educational Institutions, Healthcare, etc.)
• Other (NGOs, environmental organizations, etc.)

In addition, an analysis is being conducted which stakeholder has formal or informal influence on decision-making within the broader context of the challenge. The affiliate speaks to as many key stakeholders in preparation for the next steps. Topics thereby are the interests of the respective stakeholders, key players, challenges, risks, but especially opportunities.

Step 3: Co-create Value Propositions
Depending on the complexity, feasibility and willingness of the stakeholders,  one or two ‘pressure cooker weeks’ are being held with all stakeholders jointly developing value propositions based on existing qualities, constraints and opportunities. Here a so-called value mapping method is used. Value mapping enables visualisation of values that are exchanged in a future value system. This reveals value leakage and linear value systems (as opposed to circular value systems). The value propositions that result are often integrated (for example urban mobility, waste to energy and inclusive business).

Step 4: Develop Scenario’s
Based on the value propositions a number of scenarios are developed. These scenarios always have a ‘0 scenario’ (no intervention) until a 'dream scenario' in which everything is possible and integrated. Within such a dichotomy a number of variants exist. Then, together with the client and stakeholders the preferred scenario is selected.

Step 5: Develop Business Case
Based the preferred scenario a vision is described with key stakeholders and a roadmap is formulated on how to achieve this vision. Then the business case is developed for this roadmap. Mostly this is done through a cascade model, which starts by small-scale, low-hanging fruit, to more large-scale strategic decisions.

Step 6: Implement Pilot
The role of TwentyOne is less significant in this phase. If a business case is found to be positive, then the first pilot is implemented on the basis of the roadmap and built with locally relevant stakeholders and affiliates.

Step 7: Replicate & Scale
The value of TwentOne lies, besides the methodology, the exchange of knowledge and skills and training of the changemakers, in the search for embedding, replicability and up-scaling. Ideally, over time, no value proposition is unknown to TwentyOne and in developing value propositions and business cases TwentyOne always looks for replication, up-scaling possibilities and strengthening other initiatives. This is done inter alia by involving global system players that have the research, policy and capital to create true impact.

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Written by Marjolijn Wilmink on 30-03-16

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