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Framework

 

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SQM Framework: SOCIAL POTENTIAL

General explanations of the SOCIAL POTENTIAL aspects

P1 Perception of a variety of development approaches In a dynamically changing and unpredictable environment the existence and perception of various approaches increases the capability to cope with change. With a multitude of approaches there is a greater chance that one of them prove to be particularly appropriate. Furthermore competing approaches may challenge and fertilise each other and thereby provide a more innovative environment. Important prerequisites are:
  • openness towards different kinds of actors
  • cooperative competition which facilitates the emergence of new models of governance and self governance
P2 Creativity and innovation in an entreprenurial culture An essential feature of local development is a pervasive entrepreneurial culture in which people are used taking responsibility for their own destiny in a creative and proactive way. Innovations created in such an environment will be most successful and get most support if they contribute to the development of the community. Responsibility towards the community is therefore an essential element of an entrepreneurial culture which relies on local and regional potentials.
P3 Capacity to cope with complexity and ambiguity and to anticipate change As inter-regional and international interrelationships grow, successful self-governed development of local or regional communities requires an increasing capability to cope with complexity and ambiguity. Anticipation of change becomes more and more important in such an environment. The coexistence of different reference systems in a community between which individuals may alternate according to the situation, can be particularly helpful in coping with these challenges.
P4 Openness to enrich ones own culture and enhance multicultural cohesion Openness to other views and new solutions and the capability to adapt them is an essential feature of dynamically developing regions. 
Cohabitation of different cultures and their mutual learning stimulates innovation and creativity. Rooted identities are an important precondition for such openness.
P5 Discovery and re-encoding of territorial specificities and local knowledge Local knowledge and territorial specificities are often taken for granted and therefore neglected by the inhabitants of an area. In order to make a conscious and careful use of them they have to be rediscovered and re-interpreted in terms of present issues and in the context of Sustainable Regional Development.
P6 Ability to reach own optimal level of attainment and fulfilment A major strength of a region is the ability to develop fully the innate talents and capabilities of its inhabitants. Helping each to reach the optimum level not only of attainment but also of fulfilment means applying the principle of subsidiarity to the relationship between community and the individual. This may release considerable creative innovation contributing to regional development. A most important aspect of this is women's empowerment. Life long learning including of tacit skills is an essential prerequisite.
P7 Fractal distribution of competence using the counterflow principle According to the principle of subsidiarity responsibilities for all kinds of issues should be assigned to the lowest possible level. However, a strict separation of competencies often has proved to cause communication problems, irresponsible behaviour or unnecessary centralisation. More adequate is a differentiated system of multi-level governance. Every level should have some responsibility for every type of issue. Analogous to fractal structures in nature we can speak of a fractal distribution of competencies where every level has to deal with every category of problem but in a different order of magnitude and detail. Appropriate systems of setting rules (top-down), balanced by a counterflow of information and decision making (bottom-up) must be established and regularly reviewed by negotiation. Important aspects are: 
  • early involvement of several administrative levels and dimensions
  • ability to think simultaneously at different levels and dimensions
  • multiple links between different levels and dimensions
P8 Autonomy of strategic decision making within a facilitating infrastructure Responsibility for one's own destiny and dynamic development can only grow where opportunity for autonomous decisionmaking is present. A facilitating infrastructure which does not rule but supports, may help considerably. This factor also includes:
  • opportunity for concrete and visible individual and social action
  • presence of local margins of action
  • open and flexible organisation
  • ability to change structures
P9 Primary reliance on own resources without compromising those of others Relying primarily on own resources strengthens identity, avoids equity problems, strengthens responsibility for the future and enhances self-governance. The synergetic use of human, natural and man-made indigenous resources is essential. On this basis each distinctive area may develop its own economy, culture and environment.
P10 Shared value system taking into account environmental, socio-cultural and economic interdependencies A value system more or less shared by all members of a community is essential for coherent development. Explicitly or tacitly shared values facilitate decisionmaking, avoid conflicts and may help to gather forces for a common goal. Sustainable Development cannot be imposed by external rules. It requires that environmental, socio-cultural and economic interdependencies and qualities be integrated in a shared value system. 
E.g. in a community where "environmental quality" is integrated into the social value system, people's everyday decisions will be guided towards care of the environment, they will support actions in this direction and criticise what goes against. The social perception of ecological limits is an important element of caring for the environment.
P11 Social cohesion Local or regional development strongly relies on non-traded interactions and relationships. Trust and mutual support are essential elements which favour entrepreneurial dynamics. Social cohesion facilitates taking and absorbing risks, motivates and makes possible common action. Attachment and pride in place, public discussion on values and the capacity to develop a shared vision are essential aspects of this factor.
P12 Opportunities and room for equitable interaction Partnership and participation in a social system require adequate opportunities and procedures at the community level, a culture of mutual respect as well as individual capabilities. This factor includes:
  • mutual learning, (moderation, negotiation) and acceptance
  • autonomy of partners and negotiated responsibilities
  • development of a negotiation culture
P13 Capacity for creating shared visions The capability of a community to develop and share coherent long term visions is essential for self-governance and coherent collective action. If visions are not shared or not coherent, courses of action will be contradictory, dissipate forces and invite external ruling to improve effectiveness. This factor requires 
  • the capability of long term strategic thinking
  • the development of transdisciplinary cooperation and approaches
  • the possibility for the public to participate in goal setting processes
  • the support of competing and alternative development projects/approaches
P14 Integration of social and technical skills into the innovation process Innovations always have social and technical aspects which, however, are often considered separately. Conscious integration of social and technical learning and skills into the innovation process at all stages can considerably improve the appropriateness and success of innovations. Such an integration may minimise frictions, conflicts and failures associated with change.
P15 Access to information and to the arena of dialogue and debate In order to make possible the participation of all stakeholders in collective decisionmaking processes, adequate access to the arena must be ensured. An essential precondition is the transparency of decisions and open access to information. In order to motivate people to raise their voice and to avoid deception it is important to make clear what really can be influenced. Finally, control of opportunistic behaviour is necessary for avoiding abuse and deterioration of opportunities for participation.
P16 Multiplicity of interactions, enhanced by local actors Liveliness, diversity and opportunities for participation in a community grow on the basis of a multiplicity of different kinds of interactions. Animators who help growing local initiatives and developing networks, and who know how to organise external support, are extremely helpful in this respect. Animation and motivation can release unexpected creativity and skills. It is important that these animators be embedded in the local interaction and act as development and change agents.
 

Last update: 01.12.03