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Futures studies and response strategies

Prepared for developments

Trend exploration and horizon scanning assist the water sector recognise and strategically respond to future threats and opportunities. KWR takes a trans-disciplinary approach and keeps a close eye on knowledge development in the field outside of the Netherlands. Research into trends and horizon scanning help the water sector in seeing issues from a broad perspective, processing information rapidly and applying it strategically.

Using trends to exploit opportunities

Driven by the desire to work with ever greater efficiency and sustainability, the water sector sees that the context within which it operates is constantly changing. Water companies have to prepare themselves for pressing questions, such as rising energy costs, challenging developments in other sectors, increasing regulation, changes on the workfloor and more. At the same time, opportunities exist for better integration with other sectors. Trends and future scenarios have to be relevantly translated into strategic building blocks through the use of impact studies. This enables the water sector to efficiently solve impending problems and optimally exploit emerging opportunities.

Research with a view to a water-wise future

KWR signals and monitors trends and conducts futures studies. In our horizon scanning we draw on our national and international network of collaborators. We evaluate the implications of research outcomes for the water sector, offer planners insight into strategies, formulate research questions for research agenda setters, and develop scenarios and transition strategies. All of this with a view to a water-wise future for our society.

Our approach to the knowledge development process is a trans-disciplinary one, in which practical experience and science work hand-in-hand (e.g., through social learning and think-tank sessions). The translation of trends into opportunities and threats for the water sector takes place collaboratively and involves waterboards, water companies, knowledge institutions, advocacy groups and consultancies. Our research reaches beyond our own borders. We translate methods for strategic learning alliances for applications in a European context, to be used to establish a research agenda and develop policy that reflect society’s knowledge needs.

Understanding opportunities and threats

Research into trends and horizon scanning help the water sector in seeing issues from a broad perspective, processing information rapidly and applying it strategically. Effective response strategies provide direction to social developments in the watercycle. The understanding of the opportunities and threats that these developments bring with them supports decision-makers, agenda setters, researchers and developers in carrying out their work.

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