Collaborative Innovation Processes in Dutch Regional Water Governance - The Role of Niches and Policy Entrepreneurs in Fostering (Strategic) Policy Innovation
Pp. 157-179 (23)
Hanneke Gieske and Arwin van Buuren
In this chapter, we investigate how collaborative governance contributes to
spurring innovation in regional water management. We analyze a collaborative
innovation effort in regional water management in The Netherlands. In a unique
endeavour, nine municipalities united in a city region and a regional water authority,
together with private parties, crafted a joint innovation program aimed at developing
new knowledge and innovative solutions for persistent inundation problems in the area.
In addition to innovative solutions in selected experimental areas, the collaborative
effort gave rise to a paradigm shift in regional inundation protection policy – from a
norm-oriented approach to a more modern, adaptive, effect-oriented approach. We
apply a multilevel perspective to analyze the (co-evolving) developments at three
levels: the macro level of the national (policy) landscape, the meso level of the regional
water management regime, and the micro level of experimental areas or niches. Our
analysis reveals that learning processes on these three levels are important to trigger
policy innovation, but that these processes have to become connected by the deliberate
interventions of policy entrepreneurs to really result in a paradigm shift.
Water management, paradigmatic innovation, policy innovation,
policy entrepreneurs, interaction between levels.
Strategic advisor at the Delfland regional water authority and PhD candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.