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Gibson, L., Braunerhielm, L. & Andersson K, P. (2023). Participatory processes for community involvement in rural tourism development. In: : . Paper presented at The 31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research. Östersund 19-21 September 2023..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Participatory processes for community involvement in rural tourism development
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction

The aim of our research is to contribute with methods for rural sustainable tourism and community development. The work also entails identifying solutions encompassed for local actors in rural settings, thereby strengthening stakeholders and contributing to sustainable, resilient and attractive rural communities.

Our current research project ‘Smart Villages in Sweden’ is evolving a development process, resulting in ideas, concepts and prototypes for local solutions that addresses local challenges, using the concept of ‘Smart Villages’ as a focal point. We are using a place-based approach for innovation in a broader context with the result of developing services or solutions adapted to suit rural communities. We argue that developing such a process is vital for a sustainable and long-term durable outcome, as it ensures that the ideas, concepts and prototypes produced are based on the local communities’ situation. This is in line with EU´s concept of Smart Villages (2019) which refers to communities in rural areas revitalising rural services and improving resilience using innovative solutions.  

We are using a participatory approach developed during several years of previous research, albeit in a wider sense where tourism development is put in the context of a general notion of sustainable community development. Two communities and the surrounding countryside in the county of Värmland, Sillerud and Sysslebäck, are our cases in this project. This year, we are carrying out the second work package of the project, which involves a method where various community stakeholders from our local cases are involved. Using this approach entails both challenges and opportunities. During this session we would like to discuss our results and experiences so far.  

Theoretical framework

In this project, we are starting from the theories of service ecosystems and the transformative service approach, as this is in line with the concept of smart villages. Service ecosystems are defined as a network-based collection of actors that work together to create and deliver value to customers. It can include companies, customers, suppliers, governments, and other stakeholders who collaborate and interact in various ways to create and deliver value (Akaka et. al., 2012). The theory of the Transformative Service Approach is about companies and organizations not only delivering products and services, but also having a broader role in society by contributing to creating positive changes and transformations in customers and society in general (Andersson et. al., 2013). Important aspects of these two approaches are that they focus on the dynamics between different actors in an ecosystem and how it affects the creation and delivery of value over time. This means that the ecosystem is in constant change and development through interactions and transactions between the actors.

The Smart Villages concept is based on the idea that value is determined uniquely by and together with actors linked to the specific location (Cāne, 2021), and understanding the context of value creation is the key to successful service offerings. The methodology within the smart villages concept involves a bottom-up, collaborative approach that aims to produce both practical results and scientific results. Overall, the research highlights the importance of engaging with rural communities and stakeholders in the process of understanding and promoting smart villages (Aziiza & Susanto, 2020). Important to note is that what makes a local community ‘smart’ is not limited to increased levels of digitisation or connectivity. ‘Smartness’ stems from the use of digital technologies as vehicles for local development goals and the improvement of the quality of life of citizens (Smart Villages briefing note, 2019). ‘Smart’ does not automatically mean sustainable; producing and using new technology in itself have effects on the environment, for example. In this project it is therefore important that we focus on ‘smart’ solutions that will contribute to economic and social sustainability in terms of vibrant rural business and communities.

Methodology

In our research, we take a participatory approach (Trischler et al, 2018), where we use a place-based method, focusing on bottom-up perspective and a collaborative, creative way of working together with the aim of producing both practical outcomes as well as scientific results and knowledge (Ryan Bengtsson et al, 2022). This method has been formed over seven years of research in close collaboration with businesses and organisations and is influenced by research actively engaging actors (see for example Haraway, 2016 and Ren & Jóhannesson, 2017). The method used is divided into three steps where the collaborative process can be viewed as a ladder, each step forming the base for the next. Knowledge and new perspectives create an input into the next step.  

In our ongoing project, the method consists of the following three steps: an inventory, a mapping process and evaluation phase. So far, we are coming towards an end of the second step. The first step involved gathering vital information about the two local communities that serve as cases in this research. This information has given us as input into the following steps of the collaborative process. The two main sources of information in the first stage were qualitative interviews with key actors in our local communities and quantitative visitor surveys. The second part of the method involved working with stakeholders in the local communities in a series of workshops led by the research team. The participants have been co-creating ideas and solutions on how to increase the competitiveness as well as quality of life in their communities. The third step will involve collaborative testing and evaluating the most viable of the creative ideas and solutions.  

Results

As mentioned, the research project Smart Villages grows out of, and further develops our research on participatory processes in community and destination development. At this conference, we will present our recent findings in terms of methodological challenges and opportunities, as well as the practical and analytical outcomes so far.

Methodological findings indicate that an adaptive approach when defining local stakeholders is vital, as the local context varies, and each community encompass a unique mix of stakeholders. Therefore, the importance of gathering information of the place and its actors is essential in the initial stages of the process. Furthermore, we argue for the importance of involving local key actors at an early stage in the process. This is a necessary empowering factor, which will increase the changes of local ownership of the process and the practical results.

Practical outcomes include for example the start-up of a local group in one of the cases, taking on a local ownership, with the aim of strengthening this rather fragmented and divided community. By facilitating contact between students and community key actors from our other case, they have been provided with new ideas to implement.

Analytical outputs involve for example categorising opportunities put forward by the local stakeholders. These can be divided into three main types of actions for strengthening the places’ competitiveness:

1)       information about existing local attractions and events (tangible)

2)       storytelling about the local culture and collaboration (intangible)

3)       improvement of existing service and visitor experience (for residents, visitors, and part-time visitors)

Our findings also imply the need for further research into the combination of digital and physical solutions when it comes to sustainable community and destination development. Our participants often suggest digital solutions as a tool of drawing attention to physical meetings. Many ideas put forward are based on a social need to meet, often across group boundaries such as those between residents and visitors. If implemented, this could increase positive social effects of tourism and reduce opposition against tourism growth.  

References

Akaka, M. A., Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2012). An exploration of networks in value cocreation: A serviceecosystems view. Review of Marketing Research, 9, 13–5.

Anderson, L., Ostrom, A. L., Corus, C., Fisk, R. P., Gallan, A. S., Giraldo, M., ... & Williams, J. D. (2013). Transformative service research: An agenda for the future. Journal of Business Research, 66(8), 1203-1210. 

Aziiza, A. A., & Susanto, T. D. (2020). The Smart Village Model for Rural Area (Case Study: Banyuwangi Regency). In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (Vol. 722, No. 1, p. 012011). IOP Publishing.

Cāne, R. (2021, June). Development of smart villages as a factor for rural digital transformation. In ENVIRONMENT. TECHNOLOGIES. RESOURCES. Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference (Vol. 1, pp. 43-49).

Haraway, D.J. (2016) Staying with the Trouble - Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press

Ren, C., van der Duim, R., & Jóhannesson, T. (2017). Co-creation of tourism knowledge. in Ren, C., Jóhannesson, T., & van der Duim, R. (Ed.) Co-creating tourism research - Towards collaborative ways of knowing. London & New York: Routledge.

Ryan Bengtsson, L., Braunerhielm, L., Gibson, L., Hoppstadius, F. & Kingsepp, E. (2022). Digital media innovations through participatory action research. Interventions for digital place-based experiences. Nordicom, 43 (2), 134 - 151

Smart Villages Pilot Project Briefing Note (2019) https://digitevent-images.s3.amazonaws.com/5c0e6198801d2065233ff996-registrationfiletexteditor1551115459927-smart-villages-briefing-note.pdf

Trischler, J., Pervan, S. J., Kelly, S. J., & Scott, D. R. (2018). The value of codesign: The effect of customer involvement in service design teams. Journal of Service Research, 21(1), 75-100.

National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Turismvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-97303 (URN)
Conference
The 31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research. Östersund 19-21 September 2023.
Available from: 2023-11-06 Created: 2023-11-06 Last updated: 2024-01-03Bibliographically approved
Ryan Bengtsson, L., Braunerhielm, L., Gibson, L., Hoppstadius, F. & Kingsepp, E. (2022). Digital media innovations through participatory action research: Interventions for digital place-based experiences. Nordicom Review, 43(2), 134-151
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Digital media innovations through participatory action research: Interventions for digital place-based experiences
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2022 (English)In: Nordicom Review, ISSN 1403-1108, E-ISSN 2001-5119, Vol. 43, no 2, p. 134-151Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents an action-research study investigating a spatially sensitive innovation process of place-based experiences in a rural area of Sweden. Lately, there have been a growing number of initiatives focused on developing location-aware mobile media – geomedia technologies – to offer place-based digital experiences within tourism. Drawing on contemporary critical studies on geomedia technologies, we stress the importance of reflecting upon the implications of place-based technologies to minimise both the negative impacts on a place and the neglect of local perspectives. We conducted action-research interventions to unpack the complexity of developing place-based mediated experiences. The study makes an illustrative case of how interventions lead to more nuanced development processes of geomedia technologies while simultaneously fostering creativity. We argue that as action research allows researchers to intervene in media innovations, it identifies models for more nuanced place-based development processes, including local spatial and sociocultural perspectives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sciendo, 2022
Keywords
action research media innovation geomedia technologies destination development digital experiences
National Category
Media Studies
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-91181 (URN)10.2478/nor-2022-0009 (DOI)000818610300001 ()2-s2.0-85133597303 (Scopus ID)
Funder
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), 20201439
Available from: 2022-07-04 Created: 2022-07-04 Last updated: 2022-11-10Bibliographically approved
Gibson, L., Braunerhielm, L. & Andersson K, P. (2022). Smart villages: Participatory processes for sustainable rural development.. In: : . Paper presented at The 30th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research. Porvoo, Finland. 27– 29 October 2022.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Smart villages: Participatory processes for sustainable rural development.
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction

There is a need for digital innovation initiatives in rural areas, where rural development has been marginalised in favor of urban development (see for example Cowie et al., 2020; Pant etal., 2017). By combining tourism research on digital innovation in rural areas (Braunerhielm etal. 2019; 2018; Ryan Bengtsson et al, 2022) with service design (Vink et al., 2020), and value-creating processes (Nöjd et al. 2020), the aim of our research is to contribute with methods for rural sustainable tourism and community development and identify solutions encompassed for businesses in rural settings. Therefore, we contribute with ways of conducting participatory research- and innovation processes, focusing on places as both destinations and local communities. Our current research project is using a participatory approach developed during several years of previous research, albeit in a wider sense where tourism development is put in the context of a general notion of sustainable rural development. The purpose of our recent project ‘Smart Villages’, is to gain increased knowledge and understanding of how smart solutions can address some of the challenges in rural Sweden. Our general research question is: How can ‘Smart Villages’ be used as a concept to overcome challenges and support sustainable communities?

National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-97306 (URN)
Conference
The 30th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research. Porvoo, Finland. 27– 29 October 2022
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2023-11-06 Created: 2023-11-06 Last updated: 2023-12-11Bibliographically approved
Braunerhielm, L., Gibson, L., Ryan Bengtsson, L. & Andersson K, P. (2021). Smart Villages in Sweden. In: : . Paper presented at Landsbygder och regioner i förändring 2021.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Smart Villages in Sweden
2021 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

There is a need for digital innovation initiatives in rural areas, where rural development has been marginalised in favor of urban development. By combining tourism research on digital innovation in rural areas with service design, and value-creating processes, this paper contributes with processes for rural digital innovation and solutions encompassed for Swedish businesses in rural settings. The proposed project Smart villages in Sweden aims to increase knowledge and understanding, together with businesses, of how smart solutions can address some of the challenges in rural Sweden and how these can contribute to thriving businesses. The general research question is: How can ‘Smart Villages’ be used as a concept to overcome challenges and support sustainable communities for businesses in Sweden? Smart in this context means developing and innovating services and digital solutions that have grown out of the local needs and conditions.  

Based on a proven methodology, a three-step model, this paper argues for the use of a participatory approach, a place-based approach, focusing on bottom-up perspective and a collaborative, creative way of working in rural digital development and innovation. Adding a geomedia perspective this paper contributes with a methodological approach to create sustainable villages and adding that technology can only support sustainable development if the technology itself is sustainably developed. The presented digital innovation process for rural businesses therefore shifts focus from technology as focus for development, to technology to support for development.

National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-97305 (URN)
Conference
Landsbygder och regioner i förändring 2021
Available from: 2023-11-06 Created: 2023-11-06 Last updated: 2024-01-03Bibliographically approved
Braunerhielm, L. & Gibson, L. (2019). Digitalization through collaborative methods. In: : . Paper presented at The 28th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research. Roskilde University, Denmark. 23 – 25 October 2019.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Digitalization through collaborative methods
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a collaborative tourism research method for the development of place-based digital visitor experiences. Our method is based on a geomedia perspective, which combines theories and practices from human geography as well as media and communication studies. By using geomedia, we highlight the intersection between geo (place) and media and include interaction between people and place in the production of media and digitalization, i.e. a collaboration. The collaborative method is used as a research tool to let various groups of actors make sense of local places and their history in relation to destination development and innovation of location-based applications. In the collaboration process, we are involving entrepreneurs, stakeholders, potential users, the local community as well as designers, with the purpose of enhancing visitors’ experiences using digital media.

In this session, we demonstrate and discuss how collaborative methods can be conducted by examples from our on-going research project regarding place-based digital visitor experiences. As researchers, we can contribute to tourism research through the development of new collaborative methods and perspectives, but also with new insights and a process of learning for participating actors.

The reasons for focusing on digitalization are many. Digitalization creates both new opportunities and challenges for tourism. There is a need for explorative and collaborative methods that creates insights in how to use digital media to enhance experiences before, during and after a visit. By combining in-depth studies of local places and their history and culture, with digital representation, we can create new perspectives of places. This type of knowledge has proven essential in the development processes we are studying.

In these changing times for tourism, environmental awareness and over-tourism is also on the agenda. Could collaborative methods be not just a research tool but also a tool for the tourism and hospitality sector to develop, in an innovative, yet socially sustainable way? To encourage more domestic tourism, local destinations and tourism businesses will need to increase their competitiveness and attractiveness. By including local residents as well as tourism businesses in a collective process, can we strengthen their local identity rather than threaten their social life?

References:

Braunerhielm, L. (2019). Tourism innovation research in the digital age. Towards a Geomedia approach. Forthcoming.

Liburd, J. & Edwards, D. (2018) Collaboration for sustainable tourism development. Oxford, Goodfellow Pulishers Ltd.

Ren, C. , Johannesson, G. T & Van Der Duim, R (2017) Co-Creating Tourism Research – Towards Collaborative Ways of Knowing. Abingdon, Routledge.

National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Turismvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-97308 (URN)
Conference
The 28th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research. Roskilde University, Denmark. 23 – 25 October 2019
Funder
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
Available from: 2023-11-06 Created: 2023-11-06 Last updated: 2024-01-03Bibliographically approved
Braunerhielm, L., Ryan Bengtsson, L. & Gibson, L. (2018). Collaborative geomedia research methodologies. In: : . Paper presented at The 27th Nordic Symposium of Tourism and Hospitality research, ”Tourism implications and dilemmas”, 24-26 of September 2018, UIT, The Arctic university of Norway, Alta, Norway..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Collaborative geomedia research methodologies
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper focuses on collaborative geomedia research methodologies. Geomedia can be described as intersecting theories and practises from media and communication studies and human geography. By using the concept of collaborative geomedia we point to a research approach in which tourism actors, researchers, designers and visitors together develop place-based digital experiences. Collaborative geomedia methods can be applied as research tools among scholars with interest in how various groups relate to and make sense of a certain place and its history interconnected to practical development of concrete location-based applications that are developed through collaborative work involving researchers, designers and potential users.  

We will discuss this type of method and how it has been used in an on-going research project regarding place-based digital visitor experiences. The fast pace of technical development within the tourism industry creates a gap between the development and knowledge about digitalisation and mediatisation within the industry. While the technique tends to steer the development, the digitalisation within the industry increases rapidly with lack of reflection of how different actors from the industry is included and what the effects are for the tourism destinations and the local place. This paper intends to fill an identified gap of knowledge about methods for enhancing visitors’ on site-experiences using digital media, where key actors in the local tourism industry and community are included and were processes of development are based on place-anchoring. By launching the geomedia approach within the research field in tourism studies, we are building a bridge between technology and people and connecting media with a place-based perspective. By using the geomedia perspective, we focus on ‘who can communicate what at different places?’ What is represented at places and ‘whose’ places are represented (today and in the past)?  

National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Turismvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-97311 (URN)
Conference
The 27th Nordic Symposium of Tourism and Hospitality research, ”Tourism implications and dilemmas”, 24-26 of September 2018, UIT, The Arctic university of Norway, Alta, Norway.
Projects
Platsbaserade digitala upplevelser
Funder
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
Available from: 2023-11-06 Created: 2023-11-06 Last updated: 2024-01-03Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-5146-9330

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