Barriers to change
Key challenges to those working in this area are the need to overcome the barriers to learning such as the following: fragmented information bases, poor information flows, a tendency to discount non-scientific forms of knowledge, lack of adequate processes to develop shared understandings among diverse stakeholders, an unwillingness to adequately address conflict, and institutional cultures within research and policy making that work against genuine participatory approaches. In turn, and especially within the natural management arena, these problems are compounded by current economic frameworks in which short-term rationality outcompetes longer-term ecological realities. The following papers provide a good overview of the lessons learnt to date ... and the challenges still to overcome.
- Walters, C. 1997. Challenges in adaptive management of riparian and coastal ecosystems. Conservation Ecology [online]1(2):1. This article looks at the reasons that many case studies in adaptive-management planning for riparian ecosystems have failed to produce useful models for policy comparison or good experimental management plans for resolving key uncertainties. These include modeling problems related to representation of cross-scale effects, lack of data on key processes that are difficult to study, and confounding of factor effects in validation data. Experimental policies have been seen as too costly or risky. Research and management stakeholders see adaptive-policy development as a threat to existing research programs and management regimes, rather than as an opportunity for improvement. And finally proposals for experimental management regimes have exposed and highlighted some really fundamental conflicts in ecological values.
- Charles Lusthaus, Gary Anderson, and Elaine Murphy (1995) Institutional Assessment: A Framework for Strengthening Organizational Capacity for IDRC's Research Partners The strengthening of capacity is a complex, problem-solving process, and one for which there is no single formula for success. Many approaches can and have helped research institutions in the developing world gain momentum. Just as there is no one formula for strengthening capacity, the assessment process itself must be robust enough to capture the emerging reality of capacity in development. In the process of documenting this framework to achieve this for IDRC, the authors surveyed recent literature on performance and capacity building and examined several models currently being used to evaluate research centres worldwide.
- Spreading the word:
Practical guidelines for research dissemination strategies This DFID project documentation provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges and barriers in this area. Recommendations include developing stronger strategic frameworks to guide dissemination and seeking to incorporate dissemination throughout the project, rather than at project end.
- Sustainable Strategies for Safe Schools This paper by Claire Crooks, Peter Jaffe and Lynn Watson asks ... What facilitates sustainable change? What gets in the way? Opportunities and challenges! It looks at what factors facilitate implementation of sustainable change, and what barriers and challenges you may encounter. Although it is focussed on education, the principles will be recognisable in many change programs in all sectors.