Step 7: Creating a Portfolio of Initiatives and Projects for the Cities

February 10, 2022

From the previous steps of “The Butterfly Effect” project - system mapping, deep listening to nature and people, creation of insights and personas and the Hackathon - we can create a portfolio of initiatives for Myrnohrad and Chervonohrad. To see the portfolio, please click on all the categories on the top of the screen.

What is a Portfolio?

A portfolio is a compilation of different locally initiated projects that have the potential to transform a city. We generate our portfolio from varied sources:

●   Some projects are existing projects in the cities which we have mapped in the first step of the project.

●   Some projects are prototypes/ideas developed during our Hackathon in response to insights, personas and challenges that we have identified during system mapping and deep listening to nature and people. We also included the prototypes/ideas developed by other actors (e.g., several initiatives developed as a part of the regional development strategy, led by USAID).

●   The Agirre Lehendakaria Center recommend adding inspiring pilots that have worked in similar situations.

What is a Portfolio of Initiatives?

According to the Agirre Lehendakaria Center, to able to achieve a systematic impact, the portfolio of initiatives must make three considerations:

  1. Respond to personas (at least one) and insights identified during the listening (read about  personas)
  2. Deal with different levels of involvement as recognised by the Agirre Lehendakaria Center:
    1. Community relations
    2. Small to mid-scale initiatives
    3. Large scale initiatives and public-private collaborations
    4. New public services
    5. New regulation
  3. Be interconnected, and connect to existing initiatives in this field (read about system maps).

How can the Portfolio Respond to Personas and Insights?

The main focus of developing a portfolio is humankind and nature. Personas developed during deep listening help us build a human-centric and eco-centric portfolio. By analysing the meta-narratives of the citizens of each city, we relate them to proposed solutions and see which projects and initiatives can meet their needs and provide development opportunities. If the analysis reveals personas for which there are no decisions or proposals, then we have the opportunity to develop entirely new and innovative projects for that persona.

How can the Portfolio Deal with Different Levels of Involvement?

The Agirre Lehendakaria Center's analysis of successful territorial transformations recognises the need for five interrelated levels to be involved for systematic impact:

  1. Community relations
  2. Small to mid-scale initiatives
  3. Large scale initiatives and public-private collaborations
  4. New public services
  5. New regulation

Data collection for the portfolio gives us an understanding of the levels where initiatives are lacking. Our research shows us that there are almost no projects at either the new public services or new regulation levels. The shortage indicates the need to develop projects in these areas, as services and regulation levels create conditions for the implementation and fair transformation of all other initiatives.

How can the Portfolio be Launched and Managed?

Most of the work that lies ahead revolves around how to finance and implement the initiatives in the portfolio. In traditional international development, only one initiative out of the pool of projects is chosen to be financed and implemented. Usually, the selected initiative already has a strong foundation: it is run by a good team and is proving to be profitable. A highly developed Kyiv-based start-ups group proposing advanced solutions is more likely to be financed over a small countryside group that has never been to a city and has no idea how to begin carrying out their idea.

Many different ideas pointing in many different directions makes choosing only one ideal project impossible. Additionally, there is no one perfect team, idea, or solution for complex problems. Small-scale projects are as impactful to locals as large-scale projects. More and more organisations are recognising the importance of experimenting with intersecting ideas. Collaboration with multiple organisations is our approach as well. Our portfolio works with several interconnected initiatives simultaneously while learning which directions are the most effective ways.

Many of the most needed changes and ideas come from locals who are not skilled in bankable projects or do not have operations, marketing and communications teams assisting them. We have learned from the Hackathon that local ideas and teams need further and constant support. The main insight we have gained is that locally initiated ideas require an acceleration and incubation programme to aid locals in kickstarting and maintaining momentum in their projects.

Complex problems cannot be solved by one agent. As with varied initiatives, the portfolio will operate on varied sources of funding and management, such as through government assistance or international organisations and companies. The portfolio is a space for collaboration, where each financing actor can choose and support any number of the portfolio’s initiatives.

Our Hackathon consisted of 22 representatives from various ministries, international organisations and associations, namely the following: Ministry of Community and Territorial Development of Ukraine, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Digital Transformation, Office of Reforms of the Cabinet of Ministers, USPP, GIZ, USAID, Western NIS Enterprise Fund, European Enterprise Network, Embassy of the Netherlands in Ukraine, Embassy of the United Kingdom in Ukraine, Association of Small Towns, City Administrations of Myrnohrad and Chervonohrad, and Donetsk Regional Administration.

During the Hackathon some organizations had already expressed enthusiasm in supporting particular projects. However, their spoken interests were soft commitments. To ensure dialogue would be kept alive among all possible funders, implementers and teams, locals suggested the creation of a committee that would include both experienced international professionals and local representation from their city. Creating this committee is a direction we can explore and test.

What are the Project’s Next Steps?

News is coming soon – stay tuned!

Final Remarks

Although much has been accomplished already, much more work lies ahead. We invite all interested parties to review the complete portfolio and to participate in the implementation of the cities’ transformational projects. Write your feedback here.

Text: Oksana Udovyk, Alisa Bankovska