Ghost Gear investigations – weeks eleven and twelve – the Serious Game…

WK 11-12Serious Game Event, Waste House, Brighton: with a variety of stakeholders, this event was to ‘play’ out different situations related to the port area of Newhaven (sector 7 on our map) and the potential for waste net reuse locally. The Serious Game format fields ‘players’ of stakeholders who respond to situations of time, abstract stimulus and each other to formulate plans and strategies around the set theme.

Our theme was the issues, and potential local reuse of end-of-life nets in the Newhaven area. Our attendee list was varied, with people from sectors relating directly to the ‘players’ and some who amended their own skill sets into those required for the ‘players’.

Each attendee was given a lanyard with the outline for the morning, plus a pre-selected ‘player group’ based on their skillset, from Port Authority, Local Authority, Fisher, Business and lastly, one person who was named as ‘Voice of the People’. Cat Fletcher was selected in this role due to her living in Newhaven and having a very good understanding of the complexities of the area.

The first scenario to be played was a ‘business as usual’ scenario, but with an added volatile market. Each group of players, taking the issues of the waste nets and their own positions, strategized how they would spend their imaginary funds over periods of +5, +10 and +20 years – 2022, 2027, 2037.

It was very interesting to see how each party strategized their funds and direction based on their own interests – and also how they responded to one another. The business groups were very keen to collaborate, but the Port Authority was much warier of outside influences, preferring to work alone. The fishers were more concerned with actually being able to make a living rather than necessarily their waste nets, but the ‘voice of the people’ gave excellent (and very truthful) feedback which reiterated some of our earlier research. The fishers were seen sympathetically by the local people, who felt that they always got a ‘raw deal’ and needed support. Trust was another word that was continually used in relation to the fishers, who most parties saw as being hard-working and diligent, whereas there was little trust for the Port Authority and the Local Authority throughout.

Whilst this was in game play, it strengthened the thoughts that we had progressed earlier with the need to connect the fishers with the public. This localised economy link would add value to any product that would be created, and of course, support the fishers who are known to be struggling.

The game play, which took two scenarios over three time periods also created some very valuable insights, for example…

(from scenario 1 – business as usual: +10 years)

PORT AUTH: we would like to develop international net recycling centre, local businesses to innovate within our spaces as we need to expand.

LOCAL AUTH: we recognise the advantages with working collaboratively and we would like to facilitate work between fishers and business, as the People trust the Fishers. We would like to champion a new Clean / Green / Marine business for Newhaven, but we would like the PA to step up with funds to develop.

FISHERS: we have increased competition, so we are stepping up with new tech and investing in our own boats.

BUSINESS: we are creating a marine based social enterprise responding to community and see Fishers as the entry point to collaboration, so would like to link Port / Fishers / Business and People.

(from scenario 2 – circular economy is now a standard way of working: +10 years)

PORT AUTH: we would like to turn the port into a zero carbon venture. We have been listening to the people and their interest in the beach and local business and how they want more ‘business’ than ‘industry’. We would like to incentivise Fishers – and have included a levy reduction to all those who bring in nets for recycling (their own or others that have been recovered) All levys to Port will link in to match funded fund and a new sharing economy hub.

FISHERS: we are more comfortable with collaboration now, and have sustainable fishing with variable mesh sizes. We are also working with divers to recover nets and are glad that PA are willing to collaborate on initiatives to support us.

BUSINESS: we would like to develop more tech to make the nets locally and support more sustainable fishing methods. Our new net leasing system ensures that nets can be repaired locally and reused, linking with U of B apprentices. If leasing is factored in from the start of the design process we are likely to have a better product overall, and the Fishers will benefit without the upfront cost. New innovation and true CE principles with new localised business models. B + PA to collaborate on international grants for growth.

LOCAL AUTH: progress needs to include the local people! We will work as more of a conduit between all parties and establishing a new role.

PEOPLE: really like the LA and new role, but we also NEED jobs and want to be heard. It is not just about employment. There is great innovation, so we are proud of our town, which is now seen as a beacon of positivity.

The end of the Serious Game culminated in an ‘Action Plan’ being considered for this project. With the roles that were played and the situations that were discussed, what would be the most pressing elements that any product made from local waste would need to consider?

  • What would most benefit the town – and residents of Newhaven?
  • What could increase the employment rate in the town?
  • How could the (currently disparate) industries of the fishers and business be linked?
  • How could the fishers be supported by local industry?
  • What could be created that fits within a circular economy framework (ie, not destined straight to landfill…?)