Adaptive Networks: the Governance for Sustainable Development
Adaptieve netwerken: de besturing van duurzame ontwikkeling
In this book, I reconstruct how policy makers, working together in what I term adaptive networks, have enabled a breakthrough in thinking about sustainable mobility in certain policy circles. I define the conduct of leading actors in these adaptive networks as sustainable change management. Sustainable development is conceptualized as a complex problem. No single person or organization can ‘manage’ sustainable change autonomously. It is a joint concern and therefore a matter of effective governance – a joint effort of several domains. Adaptive networks are self-organizing groups of policy makers who enable joint factfinding and visualizing a direction towards improvements, in this case sustainable transport. These policy makers combine two capabilities. First they are influential in, and have knowledge about, different power networks. Secondly they try to break away from the existing policies in those power networks and develop a joint understanding about new, more effective policies. They try to align the evolution of this process of rethinking with the behavior in their power networks. In this perspective, breakthroughs stem from the co-evolution of partly conflicting ideas and interests. Change managers in adaptive networks act on their personal initiative. Power networks are not able to reward their initiatives, unless the new ideas they create have been accepted to a considerable degree.