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Empowering Regions: Public:START as a Tool for Complex Challenges

On the 7th of December, the Lectoraat Duurzaam Coöperatief Ondernemen, in collaboration with the municipality of Westerkwartier, hosted the "Regio aan Zet" (in English: Regions Taking the Lead) congress, marking eight years of innovation, collaboration, and regional development. Amidst the highlights of the event, the spotlight shone brightly on the Public:START project, as a catalyst for tackling complex challenges in the public sector during turbulent times.

We had the honour of having elected officials and representatives from the municipality of Westerkwartier, including Mayor Ard van der Tuuk, actively participating and showcasing a commitment to fostering collaboration between local governance and innovative initiatives.


Navigating Uncertainty with Purpose

Anu Manickam, key researcher and coordinator of the new research group "Region to Region for Regional Resilience”,  took center stage to shed light on the Public:START project. Her presentation, titled "Regio's in Onzekere Tijden" (in English: Regions in Uncertain Times), emphasized the urgency of addressing pressing societal issues such as nitrogen problems, housing shortages, personnel deficits, wealth disparity, and energy concerns. These interconnected challenges require collaborative, innovative solutions.


Tools for Local Empowerment

Public:START doesn't merely acknowledge the need for change; it provides tangible solutions for local governments to navigate the complexities of the modern era. Traditional structures often fall short in addressing contemporary issues. The Complexity Tool, developed by the project and presented during the congress, empowers local authorities with insights into managing intricate societal challenges. It serves as a guide for dealing with the multifaceted nature of problems and helps recruit the essential competencies needed for effective solutions. 


Breaking Traditional Barriers

Anu stressed that the transformation extends beyond local government; it calls for collective action. The Public:START project challenges traditional modes of thinking and acting, advocating for a collaborative, forward-thinking approach from everyone involved. This shift requires a fundamental change in mindset, actions, and organizational strategies, with the development of new competencies at its core.


Looking Ahead: Public:START's Impact

As regions face unprecedented challenges, the Public:START project stands as a beacon of hope, offering practical tools and a fresh perspective on problem-solving. The Complexity Tool was very well received by the representatives from the municipality of Westerkwartier and ways on how to integrate it in the municipality were explored. This exciting next step illustrates that the Complexity Tool is not just a resource for local governments but a movement to a broader shift towards regional resilience and sustainable development.


In the spirit of the event's overarching theme, "Regio aan Zet," the Public:START project provides a solution on how regions can take the lead in navigating uncertainty, fostering self-sufficiency, and improving collaboration on a local and interregional level.


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