Comparing Implementation Approaches in Mobility Innovations: The ECCENTRIC Project in Madrid

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Innovation is often considered as a mostly linear process, piloted by visionary researchers, technicians and decision-makers to get new concepts implemented. This linear concept collides with much of contemporary thought on public policies, social action and collective thinking or knowledge creation. This paper illustrates this by analysing the planning and implementation processes of eleven measures in Madrid between 2016 and 2019, in the context of the EU Horizon 2020 ECCENTRIC project. The experience can be seen as a real-life experiment: different teams were charged with the implementation of each measure; although the territorial, political and social context was the same in all cases, the contents of the measures were different and each team had to find its particular route, sometimes getting momentarily lost, and sometimes arriving to unexpected destinations. The experiences of these teams offer an excellent basis to identify the essential traits that innovative measures have, and the alternative methodologies that planners and professionals may mobilise; not to get innovations implemented as initially planned, but to put innovations at the service of transformational public policies. Taking a wider understanding of their context, planners can embrace innovation critically and contribute to strengthen the local democratic discussion.
Sustainable mobility, innovation, decision-making, planning theory