Hokkaido University Research Profiles

Human and Social Sciences

Process Design for Social Decision Making

Susumu Ohnuma Professor Director of Center for Experimental Research in Social Sciences
Doctor of Psychology

A social psychological approach to consensus building

In situations necessitating decisions involving the entire community, such as those for national and local government planning, a wide range of opinions should be included in a comprehensive manner. The plan will also only be meaningful if it is shared by many people and linked to the actions of each individual. Process design is the key to realizing these goals.

Content of research

In situations requiring public decision-making (e.g., planning), simply setting of a philosophy may turn out to be pie in the sky. On the other hand, the more detailed one tries to be, the more different values may come into conflict. Designing the necessary dialog forum to overcome these problems is crucial. The key to this is the sharing of common goals. In other words, it is necessary to create new values to overcome the differences in values, and to create and implement a social vision that is not an abstract idea, but one that can convince people involved of its feasibility. At this laboratory, we design a series of such activities as process design. We specifically support more effective public decision-making by using public participation techniques for consensus building and behavior change approaches to put plans into practice.

  • Image of process design

  • The key is to go through a decision-making process that includes many apathetic people, instead of just the efforts of a few enthusiastic people.

Potential for social implementation

  • ・Evaluation of citizen participation when the Sapporo household waste separation and collection system was changed
  • ・Measuring the effects of the Asahikawa Energy Conservation Project
  • ・Hakodate Nightscape Lighting Project (conversion to LED)
  • ・Development of a consensus building game for wind power generation

Appealing points to industry and local governments

To create a sustainable society, efforts must be made to utilize local resources, promote employment, and counter the declining birthrate in an integrated manner. The key to success lies in the creation of an atmosphere where local people are motivated and truly believe that the project is feasible, rather than just sitting on the sidelines. Then how can we do that? Process Design is the answer to this question.