Decision-making processes, which include large numbers of stakeholders can be very difficult to facilitate. One of the reasons that make such processes challenging, is the difficulty for the stakeholders to visualise the impact that their decision might have on them. But also how a decision can influence the other stakeholders while keeping an overview of all the individual decisions in respect to the global goals.
The municipalities within Regional Energy Strategy (RES) Twente needed to reach an agreement regarding the energy transition goals that have been set. This involves numerous factors in the creation of sustainable energy solutions in the region. These factors are mostly based on raw data and numbers which are not directly comprehensible.
At the Fraunhofer Project Center (now known as the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform) at the University of Twente, we created a digital interface that supports the facilitation of decision-making meetings. The interface visualises the area of Regio Twente and shows the direct effects of decisions made by the stakeholders. The total output of sustainable energy for the region, as well as for the individual municipalities is shown comprehensibly based on the input of the individual municipalities.
The results of the interface were used to start the discussion between the participants within the decision-making process. The collaboration between the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform at the University of Twente and Regio Twente led to a follow-up project with RES West-Overijssel where the interface was also used for decision making. In a second follow up project Regio Twente wants to make the interface available to the public through a page on their energy transition website and websites of other stakeholders. This would allow the public to play with different parameters in their browser and understand the complexity of the decisions that have been made regarding sustainable energy and to provide transparency.
The interface addresses the difficulties in multi-stakeholder decision making by visualising results of individual decisions on the total goal. This approach could be very helpful in future scenarios where decision making is involved.