Reaching consensus is arguably one of the biggest challenges faced by policymakers when designing regional transition plans. While live interactions, such as workshops, may provide a voice to all stakeholders, opinions don’t always coincide and often increase the difficulty of reaching a solution that is acceptable for everyone.
Looking to facilitate the process of gathering and prioritising opinions – also during the project’s own workshops with citizens –, JUSTEM is developing the APOLLO-Live engagement tool.
APOLLO-Live constitutes a significant expansion of the APOLLO tool (Labella et al., 2020; Koasidis et al., 2022), originally developed in the H2020 PARIS REINFORE project. This updated version is designed to be used in live workshops, providing an environment of deliberative democracy where just transition plans are built on a participatory format. Besides allowing stakeholders to express their opinions equally, the tool bridges the gap between different (and occasionally conflicting) viewpoints, prioritises needs, and evaluates solutions according to their general acceptability.
Structurally, the APOLLO-Live relies on five core concepts:
- Alternatives (options in which stakeholders vote)
- Criteria (aspects against which each alternative is voted)
- Vote (evaluation in a Likert-type linguistic scale or in a symmetrical scale with both negative and positive values)
- Ranking (ranking of alternatives based on the votes)
- Consensus (metric expression of the agreement within the group of stakeholders)
How does it work?
The tool asks stakeholders to express their preferences (vote) on a specific set of alternatives following pre-defined criteria. Voting is done by answering questions in a simple survey-type format which can be fully customisable. The tool then processes the preferences of all participants and ranks the alternatives accordingly; it also measures the level of (dis)agreement within the group for each alternative, offering tailored tips to improve consensus in subsequent rounds of voting.
Stakeholder 1 believes that installing photovoltaics [alternative X] will have a Very High impact [stakeholder’s vote] on job creation [criterion A]; if most stakeholders in the group believe that, indeed, photovoltaics have a very high impact not only on job creation but on other dimensions as well, APOLLO-Live will rank this technology higher with an evaluation of high importance.