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Water: how collective intelligence initiatives can address this challenge

Tony Diggle (Independent Consultant and Associate at SAMI Consulting, Newbury, United Kingdom)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 16 September 2013




The purpose is to examine how collective intelligence initiatives can help address the challenge of water supply globally.


The methodology used was desk research and interview. The paper commences with a review of collective intelligence as a subject area. It then assesses water as an issue, paying particular attention to the new set of World Water Scenarios currently being undertaken by the World Water Assessment Program of UNESCO and its latest World Water Development Report (2012). It considers the application of collective intelligence systems to the challenge of water provision with particular reference to a recent initiative led by the International Water Association (IWA), the IWA WaterWiki. It examines potential future developments from a collective intelligence viewpoint.


It is increasingly recognised that the drivers that affect water provision are linked to the change drivers of other global issues. There is a need to deal with the inadequacies of currently available water data. Online collective intelligence systems make it easier to set practical goals and monitor progress and send, receive and act on the latest research and new information. Complementary collective intelligence systems in other areas are needed.


The paper deals with current developments in the water sector. It will be of interest to all foresight professionals involved with this sector or collective intelligence.



The author is indebted to David Burns of IWA Publishing for guidance through the IWA WaterWiki. Any errors or misunderstandings are the responsibility of the author. Received 3 May 2012. Revised 1 February 2013. Accepted 18 February 2013.


Diggle, T. (2013), "Water: how collective intelligence initiatives can address this challenge", Foresight, Vol. 15 No. 5, pp. 342-353.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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