Governance – Knowledge context


Building with Nature is a knowledge-intensive practice. Water infrastructure is a tailor-made product that requires engineering expertise; and part of this expertise is still under development. All web pages of the BwN guideline outside of this governance section are meant to provide the new knowledge that is required for BwN projects. This governance subsection addresses the special governance challenges that are connected with working in an innovative and knowledge-intensive domain.

This chapter deals with knowledge issues in decision-making processes in general and specifically for BwN projects. BwN is an innovation on the brink of a break-through. Can an innovation process be managed, and if yes, how? It is helpful to know how innovation processes generally proceed and what factors can make the difference between a ‘dead end’ and a successful breakthrough of technology.

BwN involves integration of different disciplinary domains, for instance morphology, hydrology, physics, ecology, technical sciences, social sciences. What challenges are resulting from such interdisciplinary projects?

BwN projects require interaction with policy makers and other stakeholders. Conflicts of interests and misunderstandings can get easily out of hand. The use of technologies which still are under development cause uncertainties in BwN projects. Although project management will always be complex and in part unpredictable, guidance is provided how to understand and deal with these issues.

The present section addresses the following questions:

  • How to manage innovation?
  • How to integrate knowledge domains?
  • What is the role of knowledge in decision making?
  • How to deal with uncertainties?

The section Examples illustrates how a project developer can handle knowledge and uncertainty issues in BwN-type projects, using the Sand Engine project case study as a concrete example where several aspects of these knowledge and uncertainty considerations have been tested. Finally, under References information can be found for further reading.