Facilitating organisational learning to support decision making and planning for sustainability in the water sector

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This paper investigates the process of organisational learning in decision making and planning for sustainability in the water sector. A Melbourne water utility (Yarra Valley Water) trialling sustainable systems of service provision utilised multi-stakeholder experiences to facilitate learning within the organisation. Diverse perspectives of the trial were sought through 50 interviews with staff managing/operating/maintaining the system and household residents using the system. Outcomes from interviews were shared with the project team in a social learning workshop and translated into recommendations for trialling innovation within the water utility and more broadly within the Australian water sector. The facilitated process of organisational learning highlighted the importance of cross-departmental communication and co-operation, reflective processes of management and the value of a ‘transdisciplinary’ approach to planning and implementing novel systems of service provision. The outcome was the development of new procedures to support integrated knowledge development in trialling innovation within Yarra Valley Water.

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