Let’s get to work!

Insights from our first offline focus group session.

What topics are important to the participants? What questions do they have? Does our approach work as intended? In our project, pilot focus groups in Denmark, Belgium and Germany have provided the first answers to these preliminary questions.

The results were highly anticipated. Due to Covid-19 most of the pilots were done via video conferencing tools – which is why we were particularly happy about the opportunity to test our approach offline on December 4th during our focus group session in Germany’s post-industrial Ruhr region!

In a local institution, we were able to meet the participants of the first pilot group face to face. Covid-19 safety measures needed to be respected, of course: everyone wore a mask and the session took place in a large, regularly ventilated room with enough space between the tables.

Income inequality as most important issue

The focus group consisted of five long-term unemployed and provided initial insights into this group’s perspective on the energy transition. Growing income inequality and difference between poor and rich people in Germany are key issues for this group: while some people in Germany struggle to put food on the table and depend on food banks, others keep getting richer and richer. This is perceived as an obstacle that would need to be overcome in order to achieve a fair energy transition. One suggestion: Costs due to the refurbishment of buildings need to be distributed in a fair way.

The focus group also brought up the idea of involving citizens in policymaking on climate change: they should be participating more actively in deciding what measures should be taken by politicians. Overall, the discussion took place in a focused and respectful atmosphere. We are delighted that we had the valuable opportunity to speak directly with the participants – it was great to see how engaged and active they were throughout the workshop!

We are already looking forward to the input and learnings of our further pilot groups.