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Innovation, learning and behaviour change

Learning is claimed to be key for supporting water adaptation and the related governance.  For this social learning to happen, actors need to interact and support a change in understanding that occurs and manifests in organisations, and society as a whole. This may lead to innovation and behaviour change. It is seen as a very important way to address the water crisis and the associated water governance. However, we lack an understanding of how these learning processes can be designed and supported. Often current approaches, mostly rely on engineering‐based concepts. An overview and synthesis of practical case studies from the ground are therefore urgently needed.

The Community of Practice on learning and behaviour change aims at sharing and exchanging good practices, discussing current topics and work to produce tools, guidelines and e-learning.

 

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Innovation, learning and behaviour change

Learning is the way to improve knowledge. In practice, the most common type of learning is adding to existing knowledge without changing our underlying thinking or assumptions. This type of learning is important to improve and create expert knowledge. However, because we are so accustomed to supporting this type of expert learning, we do not question the current pathway and ways of doing things. This is sometimes the reason why innovation and change needed for climate adaptation is resisted. To learn how to reflect on underlying assumptions, we need to ask ourselves: Are we doing and addressing the right things? Perhaps more comprehensive changes to the organisation’s knowledge base, and the establishment of new objectives or policies are needed to adapt and change. This often happens through collaborative or social learning.

This more transformative learning often also requires that we take onboard ideas and knowledge from other persons with other perspectives. This is supported by for example meetings of actors that have never met before, or organisational / institutional structures that bring different people and knowledge together in various collaborations. Here, norms and values play an important role in changing the way we learn. For example, working cultures and ways of thinking in various professional disciplines can be difficult to change, and are often tacit and not outspoken. However, to collaborate for climate adaptation, we need to be able to think across a range of disciplines and understand each other's positions.

The Community will focus on issues such as: 

  • What enables learning? 
  • What are the tools to support learning? 
  • What characterises a person who is good at collaborating? 
  • How do we create organisational environments that support learning and experimentation (and innovation)? 
  • How can we understand each other’s positions (frames of mind) better to support collaborative learning moving forward to collective solutions? 
  • What are the important elements of a collaborative learning process?
  • How do we overcome knowledge resistance?

This group will also work on the role of sharing lessons learnt – and share common pitfalls in collaborative processes, and the important role of taking risks, experimenting and having safe spaces for failing.

Good practices can be uploaded to the community’s space, and include for example how to nudge behaviour, how to reframe thinking, how to communicate to reach target audiences, using the right language etc. to support water related adaptation.

The Community draws on experts and practitioners in various fields from water, biology, neuroscience, psychology, marketing, political science, behavioural science and organisational and business administration practitioners etc. Every discipline and type of practitioner is welcome to share. 

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