Slowing down to better tackle a region’s challenges: Lessons from Co-Intelligence Wallonia

How a regional adminisatration harnessed citizens insights to design a development plan, and why it failed

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Case study abstract

How can one facilitate important changes for an entire geographical region? 

This is the problem Co-Intelligence Wallonia attempted to find answers for. The project was intended to help political and civic actors explore the role of collective intelligence in achieving this objective.

Although its goals were not completely achieved, this pioneering experiment provides valuable lessons for public actors who envision collective intelligence as the foundation for organizing and implementing the governance of a territory.

Key recommendations

Make sure the key conditions for success are met:
– The topic makes strong sense in the eyes of the participants
– They feel ownership, psychological safety, and pride in participating
– They feel that their voice has been heard, and that they are considered as important actors in the resolution of the issue
– They feel they are discovering and learning something that will be useful to them
– They enjoy each stage
– They feel a strong sense of interdependence, connection, and resonance
– They feel that both their individual participation and collective action will have an impact


Create the 5 conditions of sincere humility, empathy, and openness to divergent thinking and new ideas:
– The sincere involvement of participants in the planning of each step and in the mobilization of other participants
– Defining “burning issues” by a pilot team, and formulating them as “burning questions” that would mobilize a wide variety of audiences (see above for details)
– Sharing information on a user-friendly public website
– Strategic choices of techniques to ensure the quality of each activity
– Ensuring the pedagogy and quality of feedback while making sure to respect the diversity of the same

Ensure decision makers personally take part in the process, establish clear measurable objectives and keep in mind that many benefits of collective intelligence are long term and indirect. (greater trust, sense of ownership and creativity)

Read the complete case study “Slowing down to better tackle a region’s challenges: Lessons from Co-Intelligence Wallonia”

Inspiration, key principles, practical do’s and don’ts

In open acess thanks to the Porticus Foundation

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