Environmental challenges of this century are characterised by the need for transformative change with both global and local challenges presenting substantial difficulties of different kinds. This requires not just substantial innovations, but also a careful adaptive approach to implementing them and integrating them within existing systems. The solutions we think of today are unavoidably driven by our current biases, beliefs, heuristics and values, and we may discover that once an innovative transformation begins it is either insufficient or has undesirable consequences that need to be mitigated. Iteration, reflection and adaptive management are crucial to managing the transformation process, and require their own social and cognitive innovations, regarding new approaches to engage with change, decision making and governance arrangements. The reflexive innovation mode emphasises the capacity for adaptation in the innovation process and increases the awareness of values and biases around our decisions and innovation and its consequences.

The reflexive innovation cluster explores how reflexive innovation can be better understood, implemented and disseminated, with a focus on water policy.

The main areas of focus are:

  • The reflexive approach in innovation, developing methods that encourage reflective adaptation and iteration, including records of engagement and decision making
  • Social innovation, including new approaches to engagement with change, decision making and governance arrangement
  • Integrating reflective approaches within water policy innovation best practices