Sustainable Mobility – HOW to achieve a systemic shift?

In line with its commitments under the National Sustainable Mobility Policy (SMP), the Department of Transport held its inaugural National Sustainable Mobility Forum on 19-20 April 2023 at the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone.

This Forum provided the opportunity to:

  • Reflect on those key achievements in the policy’s first year, such as the SMP Pathfinder Programme;
  • Facilitate the exchange of information between public, private, voluntary and industry representatives in the area of sustainable mobility, including active travel and public transport; and
  • Seek, through a series of workshops, the views and insights of stakeholders on a range of related and emerging policy objectives, such as road space reallocation, demand management, and shared mobility.
The Workshops

We were delighted to be appointed workshop facilitators by the Department of Transport. There were eight workshops, 25 – 30 people attending each one, with complex topics to address within just fifty minutes.

Workshop facilitator team at the Sustainable Mobility Forum 2023

Workshop facilitator team at the Sustainable Mobility Forum 2023

Reviewing the requirement with the client, we proposed taking a challenge-based approach to each topic. This meant that in each workshop, we targeted reaching a short set of concrete (and priority) actions that address the crux of a high-stakes and time-bound challenge regarding sustainable mobility.

A challenge-based approach is especially relevant when we know the WHY of something and when we know WHAT needs to happen, but we are unclear on the HOW.

The Challenge-Based Approach

The focus of a challenge-based approach is to progress towards the crux of the challenge or the HOW

The crux is found at the intersection of what is significant and addressable in resolving a critical and time-bound challenge.

In the workshops, we had the opportunity to experience working under several constraints – we were time-bound. We addressed complex and significant issues. We had lots of knowledge, experience, opinions and diversity in each room to harness.

We used all of these constraints as a resource for focusing attention on appreciating what others have to say and keeping an open mind, while also searching for the crux.

Challenge based strategy and the Crux of the challenge.

Challenge-based strategy and the Crux of the challenge.

The Outcomes

Feedback from participants included:

“Felt it was well delivered and reinvigorated the effort for achieving improved sustainability.”

“The key for me is summarising clearly defined deliverable actions that come out of it and making meaningful progress over the next 12 months.”

Multiple themes, ideas and threads were shared throughout the day. But, the unifying message that kept cropping up for all the challenge areas was building greater capacity for facilitation and engagement to effectively address Status Quo Bias (SQB).

This requires a national public engagement strategy to replace fragmented engagement activities and messaging to integrate national intent with local vision.

Let’s hope the National Sustainable Mobility Forum becomes an annual event where the stakeholders meet and hold each other to account for delivery on the actions they prioritise

We are available to help you address your complex and systemic challenges. Contact us for a conversation.

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