SPIRAL proposes a methodological framework which consists of eight phases forming a cycle from knowledge to action that is repeated a certain number of times. Three successive cycles are considered at the local level. They gradually widen the circle of stakeholders involved in the process, like a spiral.
The eight phases
They are part of a process involving all stakeholders/citizens sharing the same territorial or institutional life space; ranging from knowledge to action, its implementation and its evaluation.
- Organisation, mobilisation: organisation of the process and mobilisation of stakeholders/citizens concerned.
- Co-design of the goals: stakeholders/citizens co-define the objectives of the process they are considering, referring to the societal progress towards the well-being of all through co-responsibility.
- Ex-ante co-evaluation: stakeholders/citizens take stock of the current situation in relation to the objectives they have set.
- Projection, comparison: reflection, projection on the future with different possible scenarios and hypotheses of action; and comparison of possibilities.
- Co-decision, commitment: choices are made and result in commitments and decisions, especially in terms of resource mobilisation and partnerships to implement.
- Acting together: implementation of the actions that were co-decided.
- Ex-post co-evaluation: stakeholders/citizens evaluate together the results and impacts achieved and draw lessons for the rest of the process.
- Revision, preparation of the next cycle: stakeholders /citizens review the process and prepare the next cycle of progress.
The three cycles of progress
Each of the three cycles marks a progress towards co-responsibility for the well-being of all, both in terms of number of stakeholders and citizens involved and clarification and smoothness of the process.
- During the first cycle (appropriation), the process is launched together with stakeholders who are already mobilised or can easily be mobilised, in particular those who are taking an active part in the coordination group. This is an opportunity to establish well the process so that the coordination group can fully appropriate it.
- The second cycle (mobilisation) aims at progressively widening the circle of persons taking part in the process to all the inhabitants and stakeholders of the territory, especially through the formation of homogenous groups and their multiplication.
- The third cycle (consolidation) consists in going beyond the limits in the life space to create links with other territories or life spaces.
SPIRAL methodological framework includes several variants depending on the type of life space where the process is being developed. It can be:
- a territory (a village, a municipality, a community of communes, a natural park, a city, a neighbourhood, etc.). It is the most common case (see hereafter).
- a collective actor: a school, a hospital, a firm, a public service, etc.
Irrespective of the type of life space (territory or collective actor), the process implies the creation of a coordination group representing the different person or stakeholders who are sharing the same life space: associations of inhabitants (for a neighbourhood or village), multi-stakeholder platform (for a bigger territory: municipality, city, etc.), a group representing different socio-professional categories as well as clients and suppliers for a firm, etc.
For those who do not have a coordination group yet, SPIRAL proposes the Cycle 0: it is located upstream of the creation of the coordination group (cycle 1). It can concern, for instance, a group of citizens or any other group.
Extensive overview of SPIRAL 3 cycles and 8 phases in the case of a territory
The following diagram shows an overview of the three cycles of the SPIRAL methodology in the case of a territory. In the first cycle, the process is carried out together with stakeholders and citizens who are already mobilised within the framework of a multi-stakeholder platform (in red). This first cycle plays an essential role. Indeed, it enables the multi-stakeholder platform to appropriate the objectives and philosophy of the process so it can carry the process out at its level in order to create the institutional, political and economic conditions so that, in cycle 2, all the citizens of the territory (in orange) can in their turn engage in co-responsibility for the well-being of all, regardless of their conditions. Once this mobilisation is reached, it becomes possible to start a third cycle enabling to open up towards other territories (green).
(The order of the phases and cycles is logical but not prescriptive)