SWITCH: Managing Water for the City of the Future

Managing Water for the City of the Future

Learning Alliances: Introduction

SWITCH - Learning Alliances

The idea of Learning Alliances emerged in response to the widespread failure of much conventional research to have significant impact. It was also in response to recognition that new products and processes are brought into use, not just by the activities of researchers, but through the activities of a number of widely different actors and organizations. This group of interconnected players typically includes public sector (e.g. line ministries, utilities, regulators, educators, research institutes), private sector (e.g. industry, financial services), and civil society players (e.g. NGOs, media, professional bodies and unions, advocacy organizations).

The activities and interactions within such groups, and the rules governing them, which together give rise to the development and diffusion of technologies, are referred to as an innovation system (i.e. the system-wide framework that facilitates – or inhibits – the scaling up of innovation). A learning alliance is a grouping of constituent organisations from a given system, which seeks to take relevant innovation to scale. The more representative the alliance is, the better it will capture the organisational complexities that constitute the realities of the innovation system. SWITCH aims to foster such alliances to facilitate integration and the scaling-up of innovation in urban water management.

In each of the demonstration cities a Learning Alliance has been established. Information specific to the cities and demonstrations is contained in the Cities and Demonstrations sections of the website; the Learning Alliances section contains general information about and guidance for Learning Alliances.

Follow the links below to find out more: