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A green transition depends on technological breakthroughs, but new technologies only succeed if they are broadly accepted.
Tech is important, but it’s not everything. A green car is not the same as green mobility. This is according to Jessica Le-Bris. She represents the organisation ’Green City’ which aims to make cities more sustainable by facilitiating green change by implementing green spaces, new technologies, and mobility solutions for decades to come. They learned that deep integration and involvement across multiple stakeholders is crucial in the process of turning the green car into green mobility.

The organisation excels in bringing together various stakeholders around green projects—from industry and universities to municipalities and citizens to en- sure that the parties share the same vision.

‘When you have big ideas, you always need the consent and acceptance to get the support needed. Without the right context, the greatest idea can get sidelined. Our job is to make it a reality and accelerate those great ideas,’ Le Bris says.

Stakeholders need translation

Southern Germany is experienced in bringing new solutions to the market in collaboration between industry and research. According to Jessica Le-Bris from ‘Green City’, lasting, impactful change also requires municipalities, politics and citizens.

‘We have been working with municipalities to create strategies around green mobility, and we are always a big part of networking and bringing stakeholders together. The crucial part is that we plan it for the people, so we experience high involvement from different stakeholders. The hard part is to reach consensus—that everyone agrees about the goals and the road to get there,’ Jessica Le-Bris explains.

When bringing new green projects into reality, engi- neers, politicians, and citizens speak different languages. People must understand and agree on the goal across disciplines, so innovation doesn’t become a new stand-alone invention, but an integral part of the existing system. Through ongoing dialogue and capacity building, these seemingly disparate languages can be translated into a common one.

Engagement is crucial to partnerships

Many tech startups have great ideas and new solutions aimed at the green transition. But if they want to succeed, they need to understand how politicians work and how citizens behave. It’s not enough to simply present the technology and expect it to be accepted as it is.

‘They need to know politics and how municipalities work. And that’s quite often where we come in. Your idea might be great, but how do you get it in there? They need to understand the need of the municipality. Maybe they need to bring in other partners and of course the customers. And all the stakeholders need to be involved in the development,’ Le-Bris explains.

It’s easy to present a vision and its potential benefits. But real impact comes with stakeholder involvement, and when learning and the development of solutions are collaborative endeavours.