Six years of symposiums – From Best to Next Practice
By project leader, Malene Annikki Lundén
Back in 2008 the Energy Academy’s board of directors, the employees and members took a crucial decision, initiating a new internal strategy which we named Samsø 2.0. As part of this 2.0 strategy we are meant to host development meetings with our network and partners. They give us a reality check and help us make sure we are on the right track. We call this reality check “From Best to Next Practice”.
The Energy Academy receives a lot of interesting inquiries about visits and invitations for us to host courses and workshops. These inquiries come from a lot of different people such as universities, churches, politicians, companies, media, artists and ordinary citizens, all of whom want to visit and experience the Renewable Energy Island project. Because of this activity and interest the Energy Academy designs workshops, symposiums and conferences in a smaller format. the Academy can only house around 50 people for 2-3 days. One-day Samsø tours and ‘Energy Safaris’ are among the products we have developed over the past seven years since the Energy Academy was established. The Energy Academy’s mission is to provide capacity-building processes and experiences with a focus on growth. Watch the movie.
The demand is big, and many people from all over the world want to learn and experience for themselves if it can really be true that a whole island has managed the change from oil to sun, wind and other sustainable technologies. It comes as a big surprise to visitors that over the past fifteen years the island’s locals have invested 440 million Danish Kroner (64.908 million US dollars) in the local developments of alternative, renewable technologies. We believe that the story we tell is good and experience that being contact with the people around us brings trust, hope and faith. How did an island with a population of 3700 have the courage and the trust in each other to dive into such an ambitious energy project? How do you get an entire community to change their behaviour, and which tools or methods do you need to start this change?
Today, we know the importance of being open to the public, and thus, every second year we host symposiums at the Energy Academy. During these symposiums colleagues, locals, and network partners from all over the world gather to work together. The participants give us a reality check and help us control if we are on the right track. We call this reality check “From Best to Next Practice”. Each symposium has its own theme. In 2011 the focus was on sustainable development in action and interaction with the world. In 2013 it was rediscovering the commons. And in 2015 it was nature – fossil free island – education.
Back in 2008 the board of directors together with the employees of Samsø Energy Academy made a crucial decision to initiate a new strategy which we named ‘Samsø 2.0’. As part of this new strategy we are meant to host development meetings with our network and partners. Samsø 2.0 has three legs, two of which are partnerships and education. How can we continue to learn and better ourselves? One way of doing this is by meeting in person, for example in our “From Best to Next Practice” symposiums. About two months prior to this year’s symposium we warmed up with a Facebook ‘community salon’, an online salon for meeting up and discussing the subjects nature, fossil free island and education prior to the meeting. 160 people joined the group and asked questions to the blog posts created by the symposium presenters. Thank you to all who participated!
The Energy Academy put the first symposium together back in 2011. We wanted to see if we in a matter of two days together with our network could develop and think together about how we make things happen on Samsø. Our ambition was to have a symposium every second year for six years, and we have succeeded in doing so. The next step is to reach out and invite all of our partners to sign up to host the next symposium. Who wants the role as host?
At the symposiums we have invited our network partners inside to take part and co-develop our projects. We create processes which discuss, develop and adjust projects – both new and current. The goal of the symposiums is to listen to the inputs and to invite the network partners to discuss if the Energy Academy is heading in the right direction, and if the project work we do makes sense and creates value for the society.
You can read reports and watch films from the symposia here:
2011 Sustainable development in action and interaction with the world
2013 Rediscovering the Commons
PDF – Next Practice 2013
Nature – Fossil Free Island – Education