Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
The categories of stakeholders of the Fabrique’s network are the following: A majority of Sailly-Lez-Lannoy inhabitants, a few other inhabitants from other villages, municipal councillors, municipal nursery and primary schools, professionals who periodically come to help the Fabrique’s workshops.
The social innovation consists above all in the co-creation process between the inhabitants and the town hall. Citizen participation goes beyond the citizen debate, since citizens are experimenting by themselves the projects that they proposed. The innovation network of the participatory garden is made up of the town hall, citizens of Sailly-Lez-Lannoy, citizens of other neighbouring villages, and the schools of the village. Some professionals (associations, self-employed persons) are also involved in the Fabrique. Some of them have helped the inhabitants on a voluntary basis, others were compensated; some of them participated in several meetings, others intervened on an as-needed basis, according to the requests of the inhabitants.
Digital Transformation Process
This case study is not about a digital transformation process. The Saillysienne Fabrique is above all a “social innovation”: The Saillysienne Fabrique is presented by the people of the municipal council as a “means” to “accompany people who want to do something positive for the citizens”.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
The evaluation of the impacts of the Fabrique is difficult, especially since the project started in 2017 and is only at its beginning. However, several positive impacts have been identified. First of all, it has been noted that new inhabitants were attracted into the life of the village. All the inhabitants interviewed said they had met people they did not know, of a great diversity of ages, and whom they could never have met through their usual networks. In the case of the participatory garden, some participants felt that they did not know 80% of the people participating in the garden. In this sense, the town hall’s objective has been achieved. Second, new social links have been created. In the workshops, the creation of social ties is also evident through the exchanges that are established. The councilor noted that participation in the Fabrique is also a way for some people going through difficult times in their lives (health problems, divorce) to create or maintain social ties without having to talk about their personal background. The purpose of the Incredible Edible Community Garden is that the harvest is used by all people, allowing people who have financial problems to help themselves. In the case of the Sailly-Lez-Lannoy participatory garden, sharing the harvest is an objective but rather to make it enjoyable. As most of the inhabitants are wealthy, the garden was not designed with the aim of enabling poor people to find ways to survive. The project has also increased the visibility of the village. Sailly-Lez-Lannoy has been chosen for high-frequency carpooling.
Challenges & Bottlenecks
The interviewees do not identify any unavoidable barriers. However, they pointed out the reluctance of some elected representatives concerning changes in the working methods, or the acceptance of power sharing. Other obstacles are more traditional, such as financial obstacles and lack of time. Implementing a participatory democracy method changes the working methods of the town hall, especially the decision-making process. The reluctance of some municipal councillors to share the decision-making process appeared at several stages of the project. Another common barrier is the financial constraints. Indeed, one of the environmental objectives is that the inhabitants manage to recover materials, pallets, seeds, from their networks of friends, or from sites of recycling, sharing of materials, in order to avoid buying them on the market and to respect the planet. However, other projects of the Fabrique require more funding, such as the Twinning project, and inhabitants are trying to obtain funding elsewhere. The town hall manages to have an operating budget. In villages with few inhabitants, budgets are dedicated to specific services, consequently, there is little room for manoeuvre to open new budgets, especially during the year. If the lack of time is one of the reasons why the elected representatives set up the Fabrique, the lack of time is also a barrier for the inhabitants. Some inhabitants have to leave the project for professional and family reasons, which could contribute, if they have specialities in the project, to endanger the existence of the workshop.
Transferability & Replicability
The municipality has in mind that this social innovation linked to the new form of co-creation of value between the inhabitants, professionals, and the town hall should be reproduced in other villages. The municipal councillor at the origin of the project believes that it is necessary to involve the inhabitants because in small municipalities, the councillors do not have the time to develop such projects. The Fabrique is the solution to allow the development of projects. Thus, several organisations have taken an interest in this Fabrique with the intention of duplicate this mode of collaboration: carpooling on the scale of the urban community of Lille.
The film “Tomorrow”, which illustrates local solutions to environmental, economic and social problems around the world, was a good starting point for a discussion on citizen participation. Also, If the mayor of the municipality had not so much agreed on the merits of this project, and had not brought this project to the municipal councillors, the project would not have been implemented. Moreover, the fact that the town hall is the initiator of this network gives credibility to citizen initiatives. It seems obvious to all the participants in the Fabrique that the municipal councillor who launched the project is essential to the smooth running of the Fabrique. The fact of having an elected representative in the innovation network facilitates certain actions of the projects, because since the projects take place in public spaces. She also managed to obtain a small budget from the municipal budget. Moreover, she boosts the workshops by linking the different projects through the facebook site, by launching a doodle for people to get together, by reserving the wedding hall according to the meeting requirements of the inhabitants, as well as by finding professionals according to the demands of the inhabitants. The personality of the councillor, very dynamic, who unites the teams, who is very attentive, very much in the exchange, allowed the experiences to be quickly set up. The Fabrique has attracted the interest of other stakeholders. This visibility makes it possible to attract other inhabitants and eventually to obtain other sources of financing.
Elected representatives of small municipalities usually have a job in addition to their mission as elected representatives, and must manage family logistics. The involvement of the inhabitants is the only way to propose a greater number of projects. In addition, some projects are too expensive for the municipality. The size of the village (less than 2000 inhabitants) requires alternative ways to develop projects because the town hall has few human and financial resources. The municipal councillor at the origin of the project considers that today, the only way to develop collective projects in small villages is to co-create them with the inhabitants. Some projects are complex to set up, and elected representatives do not have the knowledge to implement certain projects. The involvement of a European diplomatic inhabitant made it possible to initiate this project. Through his job, this person has the necessary contacts to do so, as well as the competences. Finally, the trio of experts, inhabitants and elected representatives is win-win-win relationship.