Identification & characterization

At the very beginning of the SINFONIA project stakeholders and their stakes were defined conjointly by all project partners. An idealized sequence of events in the phase of identification and characterization is shown below.

Literature research and definition of key messages


Based on a literature review several key messages on stakeholder involvement were extracted and further analysed. Although big attention was given to the stakeholder group tenants most of these key messages can be generalized for the involvement of other stakeholder groups.

The following 16 key messages were extracted based on relevant literature:

  • A participation process is a benefit for every stakeholder due to reduced conflict and cumulative knowledge over market demand and needs.
  • Every project will differ in size, type, economic, cultural or social characteristics. Therefore, every measure must be adapted individually for the situation at hand. Hence, most guidebooks put a special emphasis on a degree of flexibility that each method should inherit.
  • For all levels of participation that exceed the basic level of information, it must be clear that no result of a participation process can be fixed from the beginning; a participation process will inevitably result in new results. Therefore, no decisions should be predefined.
  • External moderation is a key criterion to guarantee fair and neutral discussions between the stakeholders.
  • The involvement action should start as early as possible in the process.
  • Participation structures should be confirmed until the refurbishment is finished and beyond to be able to react to failures and foster social bonding within the community.
  • All tenants (from every social and cultural group) must be informed and invited to be part of the involvement process.
  • Different representatives within the stakeholder groups may have very different access to certain types of information. Thus, alternative methods may need to address these different groups with respect to stakeholder characteristics (social class, migration, type of business, size of business…).
  • Architects, construction managers and similar executives should be personally available on site.
  • Graphical support like thermo-graphic images or construction time-lines should be prepared in order to gain widespread acceptance and support for energy efficiency measures.
  • Critical, highly engaged individuals or organisations that normally exacerbate conflict and distrust can be highly useful for the project.
  • Housing associations should draft individual rent agreements to acknowledge already refurbished flats through the tenant in order to clearly account for the work needed to be done by the general refurbishment.
  • Wherever possible, to include certain aspects of co-determination, no matter how small the decision would be, is immensely beneficial for the acceptance of the project.
  • As consumer behaviour can highly affect the final energy savings, educational measures about heating, electricity and appliance should be offered.
  • Tenants should be able to control their services independently (gas, water, electricity, etc.). Immediate savings should be made as transparent as possible in order to fully convince tenants of the use of a retrofit.
  • Many retrofits turn out to save less energy than expected, therefore they are often unable to meet the expected financial benefits in saving energy. This can significantly be influenced by consumer perceptions of warmer living comfort and energy scarcity.

Goals of stakeholder involvement

The definition and acceptance of common goals of stakeholder involvement is an important prerequisit for the successful stakeholder management in smart city projects.

In SINFONIA a whole work package is dedicated to stakeholder involvement in the demo cities and early adopter cities. Its objectives are to increase local acceptance of innovative demonstration measures by involving economic, political and local stakeholders in the districts.

Stakeholder involvement in SINFONIA was driven by the following overall goals:

  • Capitalization of the know-how on site derived by in depths socio-economic investigations on the institutional embedment of relevant stakeholders in the demo cities
  • Development of a toolkit for the early adopter cities based on the findings in the demo cities which will take into account scientific socio-economic standards
  • Assessment of requirements for project dissemination activities by delivering information about the communication paths in the demo cities.

These overall goals were expanded by the following expressed goals of the project partners:

  • Generation of a positive perception of the project
  • Raise or secure “acceptance” of innovative smart city measures
  • Assistance and education of consumers by providing knowledge
  • Collection of potential ideas


Stakeholder mapping

The SINFONIA stakeholders were defined in the very beginning of the project conjointly by all project partners resulting in two stakeholder maps, one for Innsbruck and one for Bolzano.

Identification of stakes

The stakes of selected SINFONIA stakeholders, clustered by domains, were generated in a bottom-up analysis based on self-reporting of SINFONIA partners.

Economic and innovation stakes are the top ranked domains, equally followed by the domains of image, quality of living and regulations, while stakes in the political domain are only hold by a single group of stakeholders (policy makers).

In detail, the economic domain describes the vast field of interests deriving from the development of market strategies and consulting activities to the appreciation of building values, increasing cost efficiency and lower energy costs. The innovation domain covers questions and challenges in research and development with regard to technical solutions as well as new forms of collaboration and governance. The image domain is a stake of energy suppliers and utility companies, executive actors and policy makers. Within SINFONIA these actors strive to (re-)position their public reputation. The improvement of quality of living is a major stake in SINFONIA. This domain describes the quality and comfort in refurbished buildings as well as future-need oriented functionality and design features. The regulations domain describes stakes of the SINFONIA partners to meet recent regulations and laws and to develop future-proof institutional settings for the establishment of smart districts and regions. Politics represents the domain least mentioned by SINFONIA partners. Nevertheless, using the momentum of SINFONIA for the implementation of political goals from EU to local level plays a major role for policy makers.


Stakeholder profiling

Any stakeholder involvement process has to be tailored to local networks and institutions as well as to their specific needs. In the case of SINFONIA it came up to be crucial to find out how the INTERNAL stakeholders (project partners) perceive their role in the project. Thus, a profiling and characterization of relevant INTERNAL key stakeholders was applied in Bolzano and Innsbruck. Key stakeholder profiles provide basic information concerning the partners` individual attitudes, motivation and scopes of action in SINFONIA. The profiling is based on a common template that can be downloaded below.

Document for assessment of key stakeholder chracteristics

Stakeholders were chosen based on their direct influence and potential involvement in the project activities, especially all demonstration activities that will be carried out in the Bolzano district.

In general, the following results of stakeholder profiling were obtained:

  • High commitment to SINFONIA. A majority of partners in Bolzano that answered the questionnaire report a high or very high interest in SINFONIA (see figure below).
  • SINFONIA deepens collaboration. The inter- and trans-disciplinary collaboration of partners from different domains (e.g. housing companies, science, energy suppliers and public administration) are fostered. Networks of trust are built and established. This provides mutual learning possibilities.
  • SINFONIA develops markets. Partners with commercial interests often regard SINFONIA as a vehicle to facilitate the testing of future energy services.
  • SINFONIA realises political visions. Through the implementation of SINFONIA, political agendas from EU to local level are stepwise realised.

Additionally, to the general results of the profiling, specific information concerning interests in and expectations towards SINFONIA, as well as perceived roles and positions in the project were gained from the key stakeholders. The specific results are presented and in the following paragraphs in a condensed manner to protect data privacy of partners.


Desricption of  the “internal” key stakeholders` specific interest, motivation and expectation towards SINFONIA

The specific interest of Bolzano’s key partners in SINFONIA can be summarized in three categories: learning through exchange, economic benefits through innovation and sustainability of goals:

  • Learning through exchange is a common motive of all key stakeholders. This covers mutual learning and exchange on demo city level as well as the interest in international exchange of expertise and widening of networks.
  • Economic benefits through innovation are achieved by a majority of the key stakeholders in Bolzano. Technical innovation, the development of new markets and cost efficiency measures are named as main motives in Bolzano.
  • Sustainability goals by Bolzano’s partners consider community development, safety, environmentally friendly technologies and energy efficiency.