Collaborative Adaptive Management is Four Learning Loops

Scott Akenhead

Adaptive Management is a framework for sustainability programs and environmental management that emphasizes learning by management experiments. Collaboration is the only way that large, complicated, multi-agency, and very long programs can succeed. These two terms have become de rigeur for environmental management, hence collaborative adaptive management is touted as the way forward. But many ideas are operating here, and presentation of this concept is typically confusing. Repairing confusion about adaptive management processes is of critical importance. This talk points out the insightful simplification of identifying four learning loops that build knowledge and allow better decisions. Given that adaptive management is valuable to address “wicked problems” of real-world management, this is an idea that will be widely applicable.

About Scott Akenhead:

Originally trained as a mathematical ecologist, Scott has 25 years of broad experience in analysis and decision support in ecology, business, and government, including sustainable urban planning and natural resource management. He has led many science projects watersheds, fisheries and GIS/RS, and many regional planning projects for land-use and infrastructure for cities and for utilities in water, wastewater, and energy.

As a research biologist with DFO for 15 years, he gained extensive experience in ecological models, fisheries science and management, geomatics, statistics, and numerical analysis, and led the introduction of new technologies for natural resources management. He was scientist-in-charge for many high-seas research vessel cruises, and participated extensively in international fora.

As a professional consultant for 15 years, Scott designed and delivered Decision Support Systems for government and utility clients: interactive maps integrated with simulation models for sustainability planning by government and corporate clients, collaborative web portals and on-line planning tools.

Scott is an experienced small-business executive, with experience in both established and start-ups companies — all related to sustainability. He has been VP, CEO, Director, or Advisor for a number of local high-technology companies.

Scott has led the development of analyses and databases for managing cities, counties, watersheds, fisheries, forests, and utilities. Typically, this involved working collaboratively with stakeholders to help them meet Triple Bottom Line objectives and make progress toward sustainability.

2011 IdeaWave