Reggio Emilia is an industrious and inventive city with a natural predisposition for dialogue and innovation. The key players of Reggio Emilia collaborate to support structural change and long-term economic renewal. However, the stakeholder engagement strategy is weak because of a lack of tools, coordination, and working methodologies and, therefore, territorial actors do not easily communicate with each other, and they are not aware of the respective projects/initiatives when it would be advantageous for the whole territory. For these reasons the Action 1 of Reggio Emilia Local Action Plan foresees the formalisation of the Local Stakeholder Group of Foundation with a specific operational focus based on the realisation of proposals for activities, events, and methods of work, under the direction and management of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia.
To implement this action the Municipality of Reggio Emilia promoted and organised, with the support of a facilitator, a cycle of three meetings to respond to the needs of local actors in the economic development and innovation system, towards greater sharing of actions and synergy on common objectives.
The main objective is to overcome the occasional level of discussion between stakeholders and collaborations on specific projects, to improve coordination and maximize the economic and social impact on the territory by giving continuity to the joint action. Before planning and facilitating the collective meetings in person, the facilitator who oversaw the process had the opportunity to have telephone conversations with some managers of the organizations involved. The workshops were interactive moments useful for mutual updating and discussion on priority issues for the territory, to give life to some actions to be co-designed and implemented.
The first meeting had as its objective a retrospective reflection on what worked in the past and an open discussion on possible changes in terms of shared governance and recognition.
The second aimed at sharing intentions, resources and ideas on the group's identity, but also mapping the relationships between stakeholders and an in-depth analysis of governance models.
The third aimed at exploring future scenarios and mapping risks, as well as identifying a first experiment around which to test ourselves as a group.
The main results of this process were the following:
- Definition with all the relevant stakeholders of a Road Map towards a Memorandum of Understanding, with a specific operational focus under the direction and management of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia;
- Construction of a shared calendar of activities, initiatives and events among all stakeholders;
- Increased joint participation in local, national and EU projects.