We connect the idea of 'levers for change' with 'governance capacity' and propose 'adaptive networks' as an ideal type embedded in, and leveraging change in, governance systems. Discourses connect practices of citizens and companies with that governance system. Aware of interdependencies, individuals may act in the interest of the whole system and self-organize into adaptive networks, and influence discourses to a common end. Their effectiveness depends on second-orderedness: adaptive networks in niches outside the governance system may influence it through levers. The motivation and competence to build creative tension helps adaptive networks emerge and coevolve with power networks, improving governance capacity.

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Keywords Adaptive networks, Co-evolution, Complexity leadership, Governance capacity, Levers, Sustainability, Trust
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.985, hdl.handle.net/1765/26352
Journal Systems Research and Behavioral Science
Note Includes Accepted Manuscript, 11 pp
Nooteboom, S.G, & Marks, P.K. (2010). Adaptive networks as second order governance systems. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 27(1), 61–69. doi:10.1002/sres.985