NEW VOICES FOR UN MONTENEGRO’S NEXT 5-YEAR PLAN
New Voices Workshops 15-16 June 2015 Outcomes Report
INTRODUCTION On June 15-16, 2015, UN Montenegro hosted two events for Youth and Experts to provide additional input for its next five year plan or UNDAF. Over 40 participants attended these events, and a range of stakeholders from business, NGOs, academia, and the local community were in attendance. Both New Voices Workshops used a foresight approach to develop insights on Montenegroâ€™s future. Citizen expertise was captured using a foresight approach, and an enhanced survey tool was designed featuring content from post-2015 consultations, a human rights-based approach, the Sustainable Development Goals (hereafter SDGs), and preliminary data from the Country Analysis, which provides an overview of country-level data on key social and economic indicators. Functioning as a serious game, the enhanced survey tool uses basic gaming mechanics to facilitate a dialogue amongst participants. Following a simple pattern involving the placement of cards and tokens for weighting, the tool generated a significant amount of insights on the challenges, opportunities, actors, actions, and values that will impact Montenegro in the years to come.
A FORESIGHT APPROACH Foresight is a widely used tool for planning, strategy, and policy development. Based on the premise that a forward-looking approach can assist in proactive planning, strategy, and policy development, foresight furthers the capacity of organizations, communities, and governments for resilience, enhances agility in times of change, and fosters the ability to navigate uncertainty. Collaborative foresight methods, such as enhanced survey tools, help organizations, communities, and governments reflect on and model possible challenges and opportunities by drawing on local perspectives on national, regional, and global issues. Ultimately, foresight allows for the transformation of creative dialogue, imagination, and critical reflection on what might lie ahead into actionable insights that are integral to good governance and sustainable development. While many planning, strategy, and policy development processes use data, models, and consultations, foresight widens the scope of analysis by using the future to look for blind spots, emerging issues, critical uncertainties, and uncommon opportunities.
critical uncertainties uncommon opportunities
ENHANCED SURVEY TOOL Focusing on prioritization, an enhanced survey tool was developed to provide a mechanism for workshop participants to provide further depth and understanding of the trends and emerging issues shaping Montenegro’s future. The tool was designed for three to five participants and uses turn-based dynamics to facilitate a discussion on specific areas: opportunities, challenges, actors, actions, values, and “jokers” or emerging issues. Pre-defined content was given for each category expect for “jokers” or emerging issues, which were entirely participant-generated. Participants were also given the option to utilize blank cards during each round. After choosing a specific card to place—for example, Social Innovation from the Opportunity category—each participant provided a short oral explanation of his/her choice to the other participants. Then, the participant placed a token (Red, Yellow, or Green) on the card to visualize either Likelihood or Preference (High, Medium, or Low).
As participants used the tool twice, the morning session for each workshop focused on Montenegro’s “Likely” future to 2021 while the afternoon centered on a “Preferred” future for Montenegro by 2030. These dates align with the end of the next UNDAF (2021) and the SDGs (2030). For the morning session, participants began by placing opportunities, challenges, actors, actions, values, and “jokers” or emerging issues. For the afternoon session, participants began by placing values, opportunities, actors, actions, “jokers” or emerging issues, and challenges.
The enhanced survey tool will be adapted into an online platform that will utilize data outputs from both New Voices workshops. Creating an opportunity to generate insights from more new voices, the platform will roll out in late September 2015 and provides another way for UN Montenegro to engage stakeholders on its next five year plan. For more information on the online platform, follow @UN_Montenegro on Twitter.
RESULTS Over 480 unique data points were generated by both workshops, and this data captures the prioritized rankings of participants on key aspects of Montenegro’s future. Data capture was completed through 1) participants, who were given sheets to record their card placements, token values, and details for each card, 2) table facilitators, who noted card placements and tracked significant points of discussion, 3) workshop facilitator, who recorded card placements and token values. Spreadsheets with data on the four major categories—opportunities, challenges, actors, and values—are available here: http://bit.ly/1G5s5Hn.
The below image visualizes all of the opportunity (green), challenge (red), actor (amber), and value (blue) cards placed by participants. Using the same color system as the cards, this image uses each workshop (Youth Voices and Expert Voices) as the center points to show the relations and connections between the four main categories. Looking at the bottom of the circle, which is sorted alphabetically, one can see that Youth was one of the most popular cards, and it was used as both an Opportunity and Actor during both workshops, which demonstrates the overall emphasis on Youth that emerged during both workshops. Expert Voices were more likely to use Youth as an Actor.
OPPORTUNITIES These two images show the Opportunity cards placed by participants. Coloring represents token values, which is what the Red, Amber, and Green lines indicate. The thickness of each line shows the overall weight of Impact tokens placed on each card, which was done after each participant was given a turn to place a card and token for each category. What stands out in the above images is the degree to which Red tokens were placed, especially by participants in the Expert Voices workshop (below).
Overall, there were many similarities between how Youth and Expert Voices viewed opportunities for Montenegroâ€™s future. Youth, Employment, Political Changes, Knowledge Access, Citizen Engagement, and Renewable Energy were repeatedly given high weightings. One major difference between the two groups was the focus on Infrastructure during the Expert Voices workshop (right).
CHALLENGES For both Youth and Expert Voices, Employment, Political Changes, Sustainability, and Crime were seen as impactful Challenges. Youth Voices (right) saw Education, Social Conflict, and SmallCountry Mindset as critical Challenges. While the European Union was only utilized once as a Challenge, it was given a very high Impact weighting. Social Inclusion appeared multiple times and was given one of the highest impact weightings. For Expert Voices (left), Poverty and Apathy were viewed as two of most impactful Challenges. Infrastructure, which was repeatedly seen as an Opportunity, was also viewed as an impactful Challenge by Expert Voices. Although Sustainability repeatedly came up as a key Challenge, it was not given a high weighting. During the Expert Voices workshop, Extremism was given as a participantgenerated Challenge.
ACTORS Both Youth and Expert Voices saw Citizens as Actors who can and might have a high impact on Montenegro’s future. Youth Voices (left) saw the European Union as a key Actor, although many other stakeholders received higher impact weightings, including Media, Parliament, Municipalities, Children, Student Organizations, Professional Associations, and the Private Sector. Academia was repeatedly chosen as a key Actor, but it was given a low impact weighting.
Expert Voices saw Youth as a highly impactful Actor, and this stakeholder was repeatedly given a high impact weighting. Innovators were also seen as a key Actor by Expert Voices. “Free Thinkers” is a participant-generated Actor that received a moderate impact rating. While Expert Voices selected the European Union as a key Actor, it was repeatedly given a low impact weighting.
VALUES Hard Work, Sustainability, and Non-Discrimination were the top Values selected by Youth Voices (right), and Expert Voices agreed, for the most part (Non-Discrimination was only chosen twice and given a low impact weighting by Expert Voices); Nepotism, which clearly has a negative connotation, was repeatedly chosen and given a high impact weighting. For Youth Voices, none of the top Values were negative, and only Materialism, which was only chosen once, was given a high impact weighting. Overall, Expert Voices (left) selected negative values more frequently than Youth Vo i c e s , e s p e c i a l l y w i t h regards to Montenegroâ€™s Likely future (2021). For Expert Voices (left), Freedom was given a high weighting, and while Youth Voices also selected this Value three times, they did not weight it highly. Honesty, Peace, and Dignity were chosen only once by Youth Voices, but each was given a high impact weighting.
ACTIONS Participants were asked to link Actions to Actors, Opportunities, and/or Challenges. In the below visual, Actions are sorted by frequency from left to right using shading and font size. Create was the most frequently chosen Action, and it was used in various ways in connection to various Actors and Opportunities. “in education and children” “in youth, business, and new ideas”
SPECIALIZE “to make citizens more economically empowered”
“a platform for cooperation” “dialogue between municipalities” “a bond between children and hard-working habits”
JOKERS As one of the most important aspects of foresight centers on “thinking the unthought,” jokers, or emerging issues, provide an opportunity to reflect on blind spots, critical uncertainties, and uncommon opportunities. Participants were given a few local and regional examples of jokers: the 1979 earthquake, a recent landslide on a major coastal route, unrest in Macedonia, the Greek economic crisis, and increasing jellyfish blooms, which are beginning to have an effect on fishing in the Adriatic Sea. In asking participants to generate jokers, they were really being asked to challenge their underlying assumptions about both Likely (2021) and Preferred (2030) futures for Montenegro. Using pre-defined categories to assist in creating jokers—Economic, Environmental, Ethnic, Political, Religious, Social, and Technological—participants created a range of high-impact things and events that reflect a variety of insights about Montenegro’s present and future.
“Roma inclusion” “Economic boom / bust”
“Threats to the Balkans from ISIL” “Discovery of oil” “Return of Yugoslavia” “Cheap renewable energy” “Political upheaval” “Renewal of the working class” “Terrorism” Many, if not most, of the Jokers centered on high-impact economic and political things or events. Political Jokers centered on the impacts of both wanted and unwanted changes in governance while Economic Jokers either centered on boom or bust events. During the Expert Voices workshop, Terrorism was cited twice with the specific example of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) exerting an influence in the region.
Ĺ ta ljudi govore?
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING After creating Preferred (2030) futures for Montenegro, participants were asked to craft micro-narratives, or short story-driven exchanges, using a social media-esque comment exchange as a template. In modeling citizen dialogue on their Preferred futures, participants were given the opportunity to reflect further on their assumptions and, perhaps most importantly, introduce alternative and/or dissenting perspectives into their preferred futures. For a preferred future to be relevant and to keep it from becoming utopian, these scenarios must be explored, challenged, and analyzed from various points of view. Photos of each groupâ€™s creation are available here: http://bit.ly/1JOOrVm.
SENSE OF THE FUTURE Before the start of each enhanced survey tool session, participants were guided through an introductory foresight exercise developed by Dr. Jim Dator. In this exercise, participants were asked to reflect on their assumptions about what might lie ahead. Participants were asked twice to select a metaphor that best captures their “sense of the future.” “Riding a Rollercoaster” was the first metaphor and implies a future that is decided. The second metaphor is “Kayaking down a River,” which implies a future with a perceptible flow that can be navigated but only through significant effort. “Sailing on the Sea” was the third metaphor and implies a future that is open and realized through deliberate action. The final metaphor was “Rolling Dice,” which implies a future that is dominated purely by chance.
Riding a Rollercoaster
Kayaking down a River
Sailing on the Sea
Most participants selected either “Kayaking down a River” or “Sealing on the Sea.” Youth, however, chose Rollercoaster more often, especially with regards to the nearterm future (2021). “Rolling Dice” was selected three times and only during the Experts workshop. Overall, most participants did not change their metaphor as there was little fluctuation between sessions, although “Kayaking down a River” narrowly beat out “Sailing on the Sea” for the longer-term future (2030).
WHAT’S YOUR SENSE OF THE FUTURE?
In the above image, responses are categorized by workshop (Experts/Youth). Each of the four metaphors is represented, which means that all four were selected at one point by a participant. This visual also shows responses by gender with Female (blue) and Male (green) separated by color. One participant did not provide gender information, which explains the purple line (from Experts to River). Line type (solid versus dash) signifies the two sessions: the first was centered on a Likely future (2021) and the second session was focused on a Preferred future (2030). Solid lines represent 2021 (Likely), and dashed lines represent 2030 (Preferred). As mentioned on the previous page, Youth were far more likely to use “Rollercoaster” as a metaphor for the future, especially with regards to the near-term future.
SURVEY RESPONSES A few days after both workshops, participants were sent an online survey with both closed- and open-ended questions. Half of the participants from each workshop responded, and below are the four main queries concerning foresight and the enhanced survey tool.
The enhanced survey tool provided content that reflected realworld challenges, opportunities, actors, actions, and values.
0 2.25 4.5 6.75 9 The enhanced survey tool was effective for promoting equitable dialogue on Montenegro's future.
24 12 9 6 3 0
The enhanced survey tool was effective for promoting equitable dialogue on Montenegro's future.
18 12 6 0
I left the workshop with a greater understanding of foresight as an approach for planning.
NEW VOICES FOR UN MONTENEGRO’S NEXT 5-YEAR PLAN
Hvala puno to Anica Andjelkovic, Eldijana Kalamperovic, Balsa Lubarda, Jelena Milijanic, Marija Novkovic, Jelena Pajović, Milica Radonjic, and Bojana Tomovic for their amazing facilitation and translation assistance! If you have any questions about any of the information in this report, please contact John A. Sweeney, email@example.com. For more information about UN Montenegro, please contact: Ana Dautovic, firstname.lastname@example.org.