Are boundary organisations inherentlyvulnerable? Lessons from the life anddeath of Land & Water Australia             ANDR...
Outline• Context:  the need for ‗joined up‘ science and policy• The role of bridging or boundary  organisations• The evolu...
Our local context…
CONTEXT        profound technical challenges•   To decouple economic growth from carbon emissions•   To adapt to an increa...
The Science-Policy Interface    • Contested, crowded, contextual    • Stakes high, decisions urgent, facts uncertain or di...
Three lenses of knowledge &                    evidence                         Political                       Judgement:...
The nature of policy questions• Policy issues tend to be in the applied  research domain• Key questions revolve around  ―W...
Scientists entering policy    debates are often       ill-equipped “When scientists do enter the political arena, they mus...
The knowledge-seeking behaviour       of policy makers (after Cullen et al 2000)    • Senior policy makers are time-poor, ...
Knowledge fit for purpose• Understand the knowledge need, in the application context   – What type of info is needed, by w...
Perspectives from the top (1)Terry Moran, Institute of Public Administration, 15 July 2009:Reflecting on the challenges of...
Clearly, we need boundary           organisations!                        Presentation Title | 00 Month 2010 | Slide 1212
Boundary                                   organisations• Clarify the nature of the ‗boundary‘   • between science and pol...
Land & Water Australia [2005]One of 14 Rural R&D Corporations and relatedcompanies - an Australian Government Authoritywe ...
Mission [2000]  To provide national leadership     in generating knowledge,         informing debate,and inspiring innovat...
Dimensions of 21stC NRM issues  highly variable spatial and temporal scales  the possibility of absolute ecological limits...
R&D Matrix[2000]    R&D Arenas                Integrating Themes    Future landscapes (15%)    Perceptions & values      V...
The republican economy in 2020GDP growth redundant as a PI for governmentmore ecosystem services valuedtax systems tend to...
[2002] We need farming and land     use systems that are...  anticipatory, flexible, responsive,  opportunistic  diverse, ...
Policies for managing Australian landscapes                   [2003]•   getting signals right, and cost-sharing•   juicier...
Information & Knowledge Flows [2004]                         South-West Victorian dairy farmers                        UDV...
Applied R&D [2006]• ABS categorises research into four types:  pure basic; strategic basic; applied;  and developmental• W...
http://products.lwa.gov.au/products/pk071243
• Funds collaboration and linkages – the  arrows, not just the boxes• Understands who is doing what and has a good  unders...
• Recognises & fosters creativity,  develops ideas• Spontaneous rather than directed• Treats each innovation as a  separat...
• Works very hard to understand client needs, culture and  values• Works within clients’ operating systems to meet their n...
• Clear destination and purpose• Strong real-time intelligence  gathering, constant external scanning• Accepts that there ...
• Knowledge is the base capital   – drives economic growth, jobs and     behaviour• Explicit about epistemologies  – how w...
• Negotiates research focus between  researchers and end-users –  translates knowledge needs into  researchable questions•...
R&D Corporations                                                           CSIRO      ANU                                 ...
Communication(knowle                         dge & adoption)•   Make it real•   Resource it•   Instil it in the culture of...
Managing                      the knowledge legacy• The legacy must be planned and budgeted for  – How will research resul...
Knowledge assets of interest  Magazines                                            Spatial datasets   Publications        ...
NRM Toolbar interfaceNRM search                                        [Click name to          [Click name to       My pro...
Infiltrating Power with Science                 Tips, Tools &Tricks [2007]• 100 Key Influencers list, constantly updated  ...
LWAsynthesisproduct~2005
4. Design principles for intelligent        research investment [2009]•   Long institutional memory and outlook•   Mandate...
Why use dedicated CAC Act agencies? Policy agencies/branches/sections under the FMA Act struggle to be intelligent purchas...
The demise of LWA• Still hurts• Abolished in the May 2009 budget as a ‘savings measure’• In the 2007-8 year, government ap...
The demise of LWA (2)• Why was LWA assassinated?   • Poor governance & decision-making at Ministerial, Departmental,     C...
ConclusionAre Boundary Organisations inherently vulnerable?    • managing relationships across the boundary is crucial    ...
http://riel.cdu.edu.ausee “The Getting of Knowledge: a guide to funding           and managing applied R&D”  and “The Aust...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Are boundary organisations inherently vulnerable?

234 views
182 views

Published on

Keynote to the Coombs Forum Science Policy symposium, ANU Canberra, 7 February 2013

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
234
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
1
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Over coming decades, rural landscapes and natural resources will become increasingly contested.  The era of abundant, cheap fossil fuel energy is coming to a close, due to oil depletion and the pricing of carbon.  Inherent climate variability, exacerbated by underlying climate change, will place increasing pressure on water resources and will increase the frequency and intensity of wildfire in temperate regions.  Rising energy prices will drive up the cost of transport and nutrients, particularly agrichemicals and fertilisers.  Population growth and changing demographic and consumption patterns will see increasing demand for food.  However the traditional means of increasing food production through expanding and intensifying the footprint of agriculture will be increasingly squeezed by land, water, energy, nutrient and carbon constraints.  Biodiversity, landscape amenity and cultural heritage may be caught in the crossfire. Yet in rich countries like Australia, public and consumer concerns about these issues and issues such as animal welfare, water quality, and public health and safety seem unlikely to diminish. All of these issues are major research and policy challenges. Yet they are intertwined and interdependent. Siloed approaches in and between science and policy will not work. So mechanisms that can work across silos are increasingly important. Bridging or boundary organisations are seen to be one important mechanism to work across the science-policy divide. But how durable are such organisations? This presentation will explore this question through the case study of Land & Water Australia (www.lwa.gov.au), a dedicated research purchaser, manager and broker that operated from 1989 until it was abolished in the Australian federal budget of May 2009.
  • Are boundary organisations inherently vulnerable?

    1. 1. Are boundary organisations inherentlyvulnerable? Lessons from the life anddeath of Land & Water Australia ANDREW CAMPBELL COOMBS FORUM ANU 7 FEBRUARY 2013 Research Institute for the Environment & Livelihoods http://riel.cdu.edu.au
    2. 2. Outline• Context: the need for ‗joined up‘ science and policy• The role of bridging or boundary organisations• The evolution of Land & Water Australia (LWA)• Lessons from the demise of LWA 2
    3. 3. Our local context…
    4. 4. CONTEXT profound technical challenges• To decouple economic growth from carbon emissions• To adapt to an increasingly difficult climate• To increase water productivity• To increase energy productivity – while shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy• To develop more sustainable food systems – while conserving biodiversity and human livelihoods – improving landscape amenity, soil health, animal welfare & human health• TO DO ALL OF THIS SIMULTANEOUSLY! — improving sustainability and resilience
    5. 5. The Science-Policy Interface • Contested, crowded, contextual • Stakes high, decisions urgent, facts uncertain or disputed • Science thrives on a contest of ideas – This can be problematic in public debate (e.g. climate change) • Public officials just one of many sources of advice • Ministers/governments prefer wins, credit, initiatives – over problems, conflict, confusion • Durable relationships are critical – based on mutual respect and trust5
    6. 6. Three lenses of knowledge & evidence Political Judgement: diffuse, fluid and Inform and adversarial influence policy Policy responseproblem Professional Scientific Practices: Research: organisational systematic approaches, knowledge, quantitative and implementation, qualitative. practical experimental and action- experience oriented Source: Brian Head AJPA2008, 67(1) 1:11
    7. 7. The nature of policy questions• Policy issues tend to be in the applied research domain• Key questions revolve around ―What should we do?‖ • What policy settings or interventions will have what impact? • Who will be affected? How? How much? When? and Where? 7
    8. 8. Scientists entering policy debates are often ill-equipped “When scientists do enter the political arena, they must understand they are playing to different rules from those used in science and need to learn the rules of politics and the media. Unless they understand the rules and tactics of policy debate it is like them walking on to a tennis court equipped only with golf sticks.” Peter Cullen
    9. 9. The knowledge-seeking behaviour of policy makers (after Cullen et al 2000) • Senior policy makers are time-poor, information-overloaded people, most of whom don’t read much unless they have to; • Only know what they need to know when they need to know it • Have a very short-term, reactive perspective • Rarely stay long in the same job — deep content knowledge is rare • Want to summarise info in less than 1 page for Minister/top brass • Averse to anything too complicated • Default to trusted sources, often in-house, even when they suspect those sources may be out of date or incomplete • May have a jaundiced opinion of science, believing it is: – too slow and too expensive – answering questions that no-one has asked, always after more $$9
    10. 10. Knowledge fit for purpose• Understand the knowledge need, in the application context – What type of info is needed, by whom, when and in what form? – Do you need to put a dollar figure on everything to make a better decision?• How good does the information have to be?ANSWER: GOOD ENOUGH!• This includes the process used to generate the numbers - expert/stakeholder interaction etc• Having the science won’t necessarily win the argument – Understand the politics and the economics – Publishing in a refereed journal can help, and can often be negotiated up-front 10
    11. 11. Perspectives from the top (1)Terry Moran, Institute of Public Administration, 15 July 2009:Reflecting on the challenges of public sector reform:“ By and large, I believe the public service gives good advice on incremental policy improvement. Where we fall down is in long- term, transformational thinking; the big picture stuff.We are still more reactive than proactive; more inward than outward looking. We are allergic to risk, sometimes infected by a culture of timidity…. The APS still generates too much policy within single departments and agencies to address challenges that span a range of departments and agencies… We are not good at recruiting creative thinkers. ”11 http://www.dpmc.gov.au/media/speech_2009_07_15.cfm
    12. 12. Clearly, we need boundary organisations! Presentation Title | 00 Month 2010 | Slide 1212
    13. 13. Boundary organisations• Clarify the nature of the ‗boundary‘ • between science and policy? • between research and its mobilisation? • across disciplines, industries, issues or jurisdictions?• Boundaries rarely clearcut, often blurry, fluid, porous, dynamic• THESIS: Effective boundary organisations need to be multilingual, multicultural, nimble, alert, far-sighted (back and forward), with clarity of purpose and strategy• QUESTION: Must boundary organisations be seen as ‘honest brokers’ in order to be effective? − there is no such thing as neutral, value-free facilitation 13
    14. 14. Land & Water Australia [2005]One of 14 Rural R&D Corporations and relatedcompanies - an Australian Government Authoritywe buy, broker and manage research, we don’t do itmanaged corporately, independent Boardhost agency National Land & Water Audit~$12m appropriation; ~$30m spend>30 co-investing partners at program level
    15. 15. Mission [2000] To provide national leadership in generating knowledge, informing debate,and inspiring innovation and action for sustainable natural resource management.
    16. 16. Dimensions of 21stC NRM issues highly variable spatial and temporal scales the possibility of absolute ecological limits irreversible impacts and related policy urgency complexity, connectivity, uncertainty & ambiguity cumulative rather than discrete impacts value-laden issues & new moral dimensions systemic problem causes contested methods and instruments ill-defined property rights and responsibilities expectation of community participation
    17. 17. R&D Matrix[2000] R&D Arenas Integrating Themes Future landscapes (15%) Perceptions & values Vegetation (20%) Understanding & learning Rivers (30%) ManagementSustainable GovernanceIndustries (35%)
    18. 18. The republican economy in 2020GDP growth redundant as a PI for governmentmore ecosystem services valuedtax systems tend to penalise resource depletion &degradation, & reward investment in natural capitalprices paid by consumers and received by producersbetter reflect environmental costs and benefitsmore Australian rural exports (by value) derived fromnative plants, animals & landscapes; value-added
    19. 19. [2002] We need farming and land use systems that are... anticipatory, flexible, responsive, opportunistic diverse, resilient, well-buffered fine-tuned to climate, markets, consumers much more productive & profitable at a landscape scale (much more intensive in spots, much less intensive elsewhere) less colonial in structure more uniquely Australian sensitive to their regional & social context
    20. 20. Policies for managing Australian landscapes [2003]• getting signals right, and cost-sharing• juicier carrots and smarter sticks• clarifying property rights & responsibilities• sorting out water allocation & land clearing• C21 legislation - ecologically literate• vertical integration of governments• new institutions at catchment/regional scale• informing and regulating markets• managing knowledge
    21. 21. Information & Knowledge Flows [2004] South-West Victorian dairy farmers UDV Consum er • Note nodirect connect Factorie Financial s between CMA and dairy institution s Dairy farmers farmer s TAF Dairy Australi • Nor from DSE or EPA to Private E a consultant Ag. s provider service dairy farmers s West Vic. • Distance from dairy farmersOther Dair SWWgovt. SR DP y Universit A to LWA is even greater W I y • Dairy Australia connect is Landcare stronger EP env’t A / service s • Milk factory, DPI and DS E CMA’s consultant connect is Local govt LWA strongest . • CCMA needs to work more Indigenou s group through Milk factory, DPI s and ag service providers to get to dairy farmers
    22. 22. Applied R&D [2006]• ABS categorises research into four types: pure basic; strategic basic; applied; and developmental• We focus onthe last three, especially applied• Applied research “seeks to acquire new knowledge with a specific application in view”• We know the application context• We know the intended end-users & beneficiaries• We can tease out the nature of the knowledge need• We can identify prospective adoption pathways
    23. 23. http://products.lwa.gov.au/products/pk071243
    24. 24. • Funds collaboration and linkages – the arrows, not just the boxes• Understands who is doing what and has a good understanding of national capacity• Centre of the nervous system and has the best overview• Looks for and brokers links across boundaries• Builds and nurtures relationships and develops networks
    25. 25. • Recognises & fosters creativity, develops ideas• Spontaneous rather than directed• Treats each innovation as a separate entity• Flexible financing model – able to move and commit funds quickly• Opportunistic and entrepreneurial• Not rigid about process
    26. 26. • Works very hard to understand client needs, culture and values• Works within clients’ operating systems to meet their needs – understands their systems and leverage points• Action learning and participative processes – involves clients in designing R&D• Shares knowledge and develops priorities jointly• Uses and builds on existing delivery pathways for adoption• Respects and incorporates non-scientific knowledge
    27. 27. • Clear destination and purpose• Strong real-time intelligence gathering, constant external scanning• Accepts that there are many alterative futures• Highly responsive to new opportunities• Continually refines course - as opposed to rigid five year plans• Focus on monitoring and evaluation in an adaptive sense, rather than after the fact
    28. 28. • Knowledge is the base capital – drives economic growth, jobs and behaviour• Explicit about epistemologies – how we know what we know• Pays attention to knowledge assets - even ‘old’ projects & programs• Recognises all forms of knowledge and respects different knowledge domains• Articulates links between data, information and knowledge• Recognises complexity and uncertainty• Analyses knowledge systems and applies knowledge management concepts & tools
    29. 29. • Negotiates research focus between researchers and end-users – translates knowledge needs into researchable questions• Synthesises research outputs across projects & programs to meet defined end-user needs• Able to understand and be understood by both scientists and end users• Combines technical literacy and know- how with client empathy and credibility• Analyses and understands delivery pathways and how to plug into them• Analyses knowledge gaps and needs, stays in close touch with end- users
    30. 30. R&D Corporations CSIRO ANU Some components of the Australian •Cotton •Fisheries NRM Knowledge System Australian •Forest and Wood Products Bureau of •Grains Statistics Community •Grape and Wine Landcare groups •Land & Water Australia Geoscience Horticulture Australia •Rural Industries Hobby Australia Regional NRM •Sugar Farmers Universities Bodies Knowledge Australian Australian Water Authorities Adoption Indigenous Pork Limited Knowledge Wool Commercial Communities Innovation Indigenous Land Generation and Advisory Corporation Commercial Services Meat and Management Farmers Local Livestock Governments Australia Australian Water Smart State NRM & Ag Cooperative Research Centres Govt NRM Australia Agencies Facilitators •E-Water National Landcare Rural •Future Farm Industries Program residential DAFF •Irrigation Futures •Invasive Animals DEWHA Caring for our Envirofund Dairy •Cotton Catchment Communities DCC Australia MDBA Country •Desert Knowledge •Sustainable Forest Landscapes National Water Commission Water for the •Spatial Information Future •CARE ABARE Productivity Policy and Commission ProgramsLegend Bureau of National WaterDepartments of State (FMA Act) Rural Initiative SciencesStatutory Agencies (FMA Act) within portfoliosStatutory Agencies (CAC Act) within portfoliosCorporatised R&D Corporations (Statutory Funding Agreement)Funding Programs
    31. 31. Communication(knowle dge & adoption)• Make it real• Resource it• Instil it in the culture of the organisation• Plan K&A from the start. It will: – influence the research methodology – encourage involvement of stakeholders in design and management of the research – target research questions to user needs – assist implementation, and – improve the adoptability of research results
    32. 32. Managing the knowledge legacy• The legacy must be planned and budgeted for – How will research results be managed over the adoption timeframe? – How will people access info after the program has finished? – Project level results may be less useful than synthesis products or activities across projects or even across programs - targeted at user needs, in their context at the appropriate scale – Consider a harvest year – Engaging with intended users or stakeholders, even just market testing products, can help ensure that outcomes are used and embedded
    33. 33. Knowledge assets of interest Magazines Spatial datasets Publications Reference books •Reference books Funding Journal•Journal articles and (Guidelines opportunities manuals etc) articles•Research reports •Pamphlets Anecdotal •Magazines Conference evidence proceedings •Conference proceedings Research report Knowledge needs Current Specialist Decision Decision support toolsresearch Research directory frameworks •Models •Programsadvice projects •Projects •Decision frameworks •Specialist contacts Current research Models •Spreadsheets Spreadsheets for advice programs
    34. 34. NRM Toolbar interfaceNRM search [Click name to [Click name to My profileGoogle Australia open My see librarian Customise myOrganisation R&D Directory library] services] toolbarassets This Worked Here! Update toolbarAdvanced Click dropdown Includes form Uninstall Knowledge needs to view list of for requesting toolbar[Searches on Events and funding folders information Helpselection] Decision tools (Playlists) that from the Contact us Knowledge market stays open to librarian Square allow drag and icon report drop from indicates Add/Delete search results which databases search engine is selected [Click to see current [Click to logout or alerts plus access login as someone alert settings] else]
    35. 35. Infiltrating Power with Science Tips, Tools &Tricks [2007]• 100 Key Influencers list, constantly updated – including rising stars and Minister’s ‘kitchen cabinet’• Employ knowledge brokers, manage relationships actively• Respect the ‘no surprises’ rule always• Synthesis products - distilled, digestible information targeted to end-user needs• Timing is everything, and face to face is best – Breakfasts, face to face briefings (facilitated one to one), field days• Develop& apply adoptability filters• Fund the arrows, not just the boxes35
    36. 36. LWAsynthesisproduct~2005
    37. 37. 4. Design principles for intelligent research investment [2009]• Long institutional memory and outlook• Mandate and Governance• Capabilities in people, systems and processes• Explicit investment in strategic, formative evaluation• Stakeholder/end user engagement — without capture• A collaborative, partnership-oriented institutional culture
    38. 38. Why use dedicated CAC Act agencies? Policy agencies/branches/sections under the FMA Act struggle to be intelligent purchasers of R&D because: – they perform a wide range of roles other than research management; – the FMA Act makes multi-year $ and commercial partnerships more difficult; – staff turnover undermines continuity, cohesion, credibility and corporate memory; – they find it difficult to train and retain sufficient staff in R&D or KM roles; – they lack specialised R&D project and contract management systems; – they lack dedicated outreach systems to extend research outputs (especially if results contradict the policies of the government of the day); – they find it difficult to manage knowledge legacy issues; – evaluation processes oriented to accountability within particular programs, rather than adaptive learning across a whole portfolio through time.
    39. 39. The demise of LWA• Still hurts• Abolished in the May 2009 budget as a ‘savings measure’• In the 2007-8 year, government appropriation of $13m was matched by $24m in cash from 64 co-investing partners• Return on investment (based on BCAs of 25% of the total portfolio back to 1990 using conservative assumptions) rose from a BCR of around 4:1 over the first decade to around 6:1 after 19 years• In 2008-9, more than 30,000 people received info directly from LWA and 17,000 farmers participated in field days, workshops and training• An independent international review in 2005-6 described the corporation as ‘an exemplary high-performing public sector agency with world-leading research planning and evaluation systems’• 2011 Productivity Commission Inquiry into Rural RDCs recommended LWA be reinvented with a broader mandate & budget of $50m/year 39
    40. 40. The demise of LWA (2)• Why was LWA assassinated? • Poor governance & decision-making at Ministerial, Departmental, Chair, Board and CEO levels • The intense pre-budget haste, pressures and secrecy • Lack of ‘die in a ditch’ political support by key stakeholders • ACF and NFF (statutory representative organisations) • Researchers • Professional bodies • Other RDCs• LWA was liked by most, adored by few and owned by one (DAFF)• Having no levy payers (other than the taxpayer) meant it was not protected by the matching funding provisions of the PIERD Act 1989 40
    41. 41. ConclusionAre Boundary Organisations inherently vulnerable? • managing relationships across the boundary is crucial • demonstrating the value proposition is essential • a durable funding base is highly desirable• In my view, it is more difficult to be an effective synthesiser, integrator, broker or boundary spanner than it is to be a brilliant specialist.• Measuring the value added by often subtle processes is difficult.• Hence the answer to the question above is probably yes.BUT, given the context, I think we need effective boundary organisations more than ever! 41
    42. 42. http://riel.cdu.edu.ausee “The Getting of Knowledge: a guide to funding and managing applied R&D” and “The Australian NRM Knowledge System”

    ×