As facilitators and modelers, we wrote this monograph to improve the intersection of science, policy and social values within water and other natural resources management. Our experience shows that collaborative modeling can assist with complex decision processes, managing conflict, promoting learning and understanding, and building relationships among stakeholders. Our hope is that you, the reader, will build on our experiences and those of our colleagues and continue to improve water resources planning and management through the use of collaborative modeling processes.
We found that when stakeholders are willing to work together (Principle 1) and are represented early and often (Principle 2) they are willing to share their experience and knowledge. Models that are accessible and transparent (Principle 3) allow for easy-to-modify and quickly run simulations (Principle 5), while models that are built through iteration of stakeholder input (Principles 3 and 7) encourage scientific exploration and the development of new and creative management alternatives. This process, which values stakeholder input in the model development, builds trust and respect among parties (Principle 4). Through the integration of collaborative modeling and facilitation skills (Principle 8) models are designed to address questions that are important to stakeholders (Principle 6) and in doing so expand the potential decision-making or policy design environment.
Use the illustrations from actual case studies and the additional resources to help you to tailor the collaborative modeling method to your own situations.
As you gain experience in collaborative modeling, we welcome you to contribute your own cases to this document and to join our community of practice.2 We are currently working to expand the community and to increase the quality of collaborative modeling applications through recruitment of current users worldwide, training of the next generation, measuring effectiveness of the method, and building agency support. To continue innovative development in the field and expand our base of practitioners we ask you to share your experiences and help us create additional opportunities for the following initiatives:
- Document case studies from which others may learn
- Provide education and training in both facilitation and modeling
- Create apprenticeships and mentoring programs for students and mid-career professionals
Evaluation and performance measures
- Develop tools (surveys, interviews, analyses) to assess the impact of collaborative modeling projects
- Design protocol that supports long term analysis of how collaborative modeling impacts decisions and aids adaptive management over time
Community of practice
- Facilitate networking between modelers, facilitators and others interested in collaborative modeling
- Build agency and NGO partners through outreach and education
- Outreach to international practitioners of collaborative modeling and those who apply Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)
Expanded applications across multiple disciplines, such as:
- Sustainability planning for long-term supply and quality
- Endangered species management
- Climate change and adaptation
|1. Collaborative modeling is appropriate for complex, conflict-laden decision making processes where stakeholders are willing to work together.
|2. All stakeholder representatives participate early and oftento ensure that all their relevant interests are included.
|3. Both the model and the process remain accessible and transparent to all participants.
|4. Collaborative modeling builds trust and respect among parties.
|5. The model supports the decision process by easily accommodating new information and quickly simulating alternatives.
|6. The model addresses questions that are important to decision makers and stakeholders.
|7. Parties share interests and clarify the facts before negotiating alternatives.
|8. Collaborative modeling requires both modeling and facilitation skills.
2The community is called: Collaborative Modeling for Decision Support (CMDS): Integrating collaborative modeling with participatory process to inform natural resource management decisions.