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Step 4 - Participatory Process Overview

The first objective of any participatory energy market mapping (PEMM) event is to provide a space for market actors to meet and start working together. These events will gradually start strengthening their relationships, building their desire to work together more in the future, and eventually building their trust and collaborations.

These events should start with the collective mapping of their energy system by all the market actors, to help them better understand their interdependency and the economic opportunities that exist from greater cooperation between them. Typically no single actor understands their system in its entirety, as each actor has a different perspective shaped by his or her particular place and role in it. Participatory events bring together as many actors as possible to allow them to each contribute their own perspectives and share their knowledge, to build a detailed map of the entire energy market system that they all agree on. This forms a visual representation of the shared understanding among them about how their system really works as well as a framework for further analysis and collaboration.

Participatory market mapping events can also help market facilitators continue to learn about the selected energy system, to improve their ability to facilitate the process. The preliminary market mapping and planning carried out in Step 2 can help the facilitators plan the series of participatory events, but care needs to be taken to ensure it is only used for planning and the market actors lead the process during the events.

Top Tip: The participatory events are most effective when they are planned flexibly as the roadmap process evolves, including the objectives for the workshops, the list of participants, possible delivery partners and detailed logistics based on the response of market actors towards past workshops, other activities of the roadmap process and prevailing market conditions. Participatory market mapping is a journey that facilitates a diverse group of market actors from individualist isolated behaviour to new cooperative and collaborative ways of doing business with a range of other actors resulting in win-win synergies.

Participatory process milestones

Experience highlights that there are 4 main milestones on the participatory process, which are useful for the purposes of planning, preparation and facilitation of the workshops, as summarised in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Recurrent milestones in participatory market mapping


Milestone 1:

Market actors start understanding their system

Milestone 2:

Market actors frame their problems in terms of blockages and opportunities in the system as a whole

Milestone 3:

Market actors forge common interests and converge on a shared vision of the system

Milestone 4:

Market actors plan and undertake coordinated action to overcome market barriers

Milestone 1: Initially most market actors are unlikely to think of their market as a ‘system’ of many interconnected levels containing a range of other actors. Most have a narrow perspective of the particular roles and activities they undertake to derive value. By facilitating a diverse set of market actors to map out their system using the Market Map framework, they start to undergo a fundamental change of attitude reaching an agreement on how their market operates and how different actors interact with each other, as summarised below.

Individualistic view of market   Shared understanding of the market as a system

Milestone 2: Although the market actors understand their own problems better than anyone else, they typically see them in isolation, often blaming others for their struggles. The second milestone is reached when market actors start to identify and understand not just their own problems but those affecting other actors, and start to recognise them as interconnected parts of systemic blockages. Market actors shift from blaming each other and framing problems in terms of culprits and victims, to thinking in terms of conflicting but often valid needs and interests of different market actors, as summarised below.

Individual problems and blame   Viewing problems as part of systemic blockages

Milestone 3: Once the market actors begin identifying the blockages in their system, they often start forging common interests and converging on shared solutions. Actors often start ‘crowding’ around actions they can implement together when they realise they cannot overcome them by themselves. Often these solutions result in a shared vision of how the market system could be different, working better for all actors. This typically coincides with a noticeable increase in transparency between the actors as they feel they’re contributing towards common efforts to address issues, as summarised below.

Many blockages and no common direction   Common interests and shared vision

Milestone 4: The final milestone of the participatory market mapping journey occurs when the market actors prioritise and commit themselves to implemented agreed actions, often in coordination with other actors, as summarised below.

Brainstorm of ideas for solutions   Clear coordinated plans of action

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