The guiding principles serve as benchmarks in the joint development of the SPIRAL methodology. They reflect the quality criteria of the methodology that we seek to achieve, namely a methodology for developing – in an optimum way – co-responsibility for the well-being of all in society. Therefore they serve to assess progress in the methodology and to identify possible adaptations in different cultural and historical contexts. They are different in bottom up approach, inter-territorial approach and top down approach.
Benchmarks in the joint development of SPIRAL
When a new practice or new way of conducting the process is developed and suggested by a local co-ordination group, its validity is assessed in the light of these principles, making it possible to identify the interesting aspects of this practice which deserve to be included and highlighted in the SPIRAL methodology.
In this way, these principles are a means of moving towards a methodology which becomes increasingly more effective in relation to the objective of promoting co-responsibility for the well-being of all in society. And as the community of territories and collective bodies using SPIRAL grows, the greater is the number of new practices that emerge, thereby increasing the possibilities for improving the SPIRAL methodology and making it adaptable to different contexts. It is this fundamental multiplier principle that can give rise to the conditions which will bring about genuine societal change.
“For example, in 2010 the town of Salaspils (Latvia) came up with the idea of asking the single-profile groups, as early as the second debriefing meeting, to each devise a pilot co-responsibility activity as a means of maintaining the momentum that had been created. The result was compelling and the idea has now been incorporated into the methodology and training sessions.
A further example: in 2011 the town of Sintra (Portugal) initiated a method for expanding the single-profile groups by themselves, but first of all inviting those in the best position to carry this out (social workers, opinion leaders, etc.) and preparing educational support material (the facilitator’s handbook). The result was that all technicians in the municipality rapidly became involved. The method has therefore been incorporated into SPIRAL and the training sessions.”
In both these examples, it was the methodological principles that served as a basis for assessing the proposed practices: the principle of the direct link between knowledge and action in the first example, and the principle of enlargement in the second.