In this section, we describe the results of the two workshops. In both workshops, participants contributed two additional alternatives to the list of pre-determined alternatives that served as a starting point.
Workshop 1 on Land Subsidence
For the measurement of impact and analysis of the propositions, the arguments are an aid rather than a key outcome. A complete overview of the arguments related to each alternative can be found in Appendix B, Table 1. The values that were identified are also listed in Table 1.
Aggregate rankings for the two rounds are depicted in Fig. 2.
The chart shows that, on aggregate, option C was ranked first, then option B, and so on. The order of the aggregated preferences did not change in the second round (after the discussion).
The differences between the two rounds appear minor on an aggregate level, yet all participants changed their order of preferences in the second round, and one changed their most preferred alternative (see Appendix B).
During the evaluation, all participants explained why they had changed their order of preferences. Reasons given include that ‘the urgency of the problem became clearer because of the value discussion’ and ‘too-invasive changes/alternatives became less important because of the discussion’. In summary, participants stated that the value discussion resulted in a better understanding of the problem and of the alternatives.
The discussion on values, guided by the questions ‘What values did you write down?’, ‘Why?’, ‘Does everyone agree?’, and ‘Why not?’, led to discussion of the values of cultural history, governance, safety, landscape innovation and landscape disappearance.
In the survey (see Appendix A) participants were asked if their ideas had changed after the value discussion. Some of the responses given to this included: ‘Yes, I have more understanding of the alternative and the impact of the alternative’, and ‘My ideas have become richer, more complete’. Another question asked was if the process taught them something new, or allowed for different insights to be gained. Participants responded, ‘Not something new, but new points of view [from which] to approach the problem’; ‘Maybe not content-wise, but it sharpens the mind’; and ‘Different types of values [became apparent], that did not cross my mind before but which are actually very important’. The answers to these questions show that participants generally experienced a change after the value discussion, allowing them to better understand others’ – as well as their own – perspectives.
Workshop 2 on Pharmaceuticals in the Water System
For this workshop, the complete overview of alternatives, arguments and values per argument can be found in Appendix C, Table 2.
The aggregate rankings of this workshop are depicted in Fig. 3. This shows that in the first round option A was most preferred, followed by the alternatives C, D, B, F and E. However, the aggregated preferences changed after the second round, with C ranked first, followed by D, A, E, B and F.
One participant did not change anything, yet all others did. In addition, six of the nine participants changed their most preferred alternative in the second ranking (see Appendix C).
During the evaluation, participants expressed their reasoning behind changing or maintaining their order of preferences, with explanations such as: ‘In the first round I reflected from the water-authority perspective; in the second I reflected on the values for society’; ‘First I thought: what is the most practical to do? But then I realised that we are really going the wrong way – something really needs to change’; and ‘There is no wrong or right. It feels very good to discuss it in such way.’
The discussion on values expanded into a discussion concerning personal values, societal values and organisational values. Values that were discussed were the concept of ‘Gaia’ (the theory that sees the earth is a complex, living organism), priorities, survival, own responsibility, and safety. Participants told personal stories about the future of their children and the lives of their elderly parents to express what these values meant to them. This made the discussion per value longer than in workshop 1, and more personal. Participants stated that the realisation that these issues (around pharmaceuticals in the water system) had become personal was only apparent after the value discussion had occurred.
To the question of whether participants’ ideas had changed after the value discussion, answers included: ‘No, but I could understand my thoughts after the discussion about values better’, and ‘Yes, [my ideas changed as a result of] thinking more about society’s point of view’.
To the question of whether the deliberative process gave them different insights, participants’ stated, ‘Yes, [in] making explicit that people have values and discussing them’, and ‘More understanding of differences [allowed for] insights in the complexity of the issue’.
Most participants expressed that they had gained new insights because of the deliberation (five out of six in Workshop 1, and eight out of ten in Workshop 2).