Menorcan citizens collaborate to fight against residential exclusion

The Consell Insular de Menorca (Menorca Island Council) found itself at a turning point. After successfully implementing various projects of citizen participation, it aimed to tackle the issue of housing conditions. Given the complex nature of the topic, it was necessary to professionalise both technology and strategy to increase the quality of the citizens? contributions. The participative process that was designed subsequently included a preliminary analysis of the problem, activities to train and communicate with involved parties and face-to-face workshops. The result was an exchange of ideas that created significant value for Menorca?s citizens. At the end of the project, the Consell committed to the realisation of some of the proposals, which it announced at a press conference.

Kuorum not only provided the platform that enabled digital participation, but also specific guidance which made the whole process possible. Initially, the Island Council and the Kuorum team set to work on a preliminary analysis of the situation. The group sized the available resources and created a stakeholder map for the subject of housing. They also identified the collectives that would act as the core groups and invited them to a face-to-face meeting. Afterwards, a communication plan with measurable milestones was created for the coming months.

Once the analysis phase had been concluded, the participative process was kickstarted with a public opinion survey exploring the causes for residential exclusion. This type of survey is very useful to divulge a topic as well as collect a high amount of email addresses of interested citizens. Following up on the survey, the participants were invited to a launch event where the results were compared with the reality of the subject matter of housing. That way, the attendees acquired a knowledge base which enabled them to move on to the next phase of the process: the online debate.

This new phase was marked by tasks related to spreading the word through owned and external media (Facebook Ads, press, radio, television, billboard advertising). It is always complicated to keep online debates dynamic, which is why, in addition to the traditional media advertising, the team also offered workshops at grammar schools and universities to receive contributions by students using creativity and ideation techniques.

After the debates, the citizens could vote on the best proposals on the participation website. Subsequently, one last workshop was held to refine these proposals using a method called Innovation Canvas. Kuorum was entrusted with writing a final report with the conclusions of the project. The case of Menorca shows how a well-designed participative process can facilitate the open collaboration between government and citizens even on a complex subject such as housing — in this instance, using a public opinion survey, an online debate and several workshops with driven professionals.

Finally, the Consell revealed the acquired agreements with some of the propositions at a press conference. As the Counsellor of Housing and Participation, Cristina Gómez, put it, “the Island Council of Menorca achieved to work together with its citizens on a problem with relevance to the island, trained its public employees, created a segmented census for citizen participation and acquired new methods to initiate participative processes”. Projects like this are already common in city councils and regional governments that strive for innovation, such as Vienna, Toledo or Manchester.