Table 2. Key factors that triggered social innovation in ecosystem management, acted as sources of ideas for alternative management approaches (bricolage), and facilitated diffusion of new approaches (contagion) in each of the case studies.

Kristianstads Vattenrike Sabie River Yahara Lakes
Impetus for innovation Ongoing degradation of the wetland environment with declining bird populations, eutrophication, and loss of flooded meadows.

Increasing environmental awareness among the public, partly associated with the death of seals along the coast.

Need to revive the town’s identity and local economy following its decline as a military training center.

Major drought that was projected to lead to the first-ever cessation of flow in the Sabie River.

Ongoing increases in withdrawals, threatening future river flow.

Increasing awareness of the value of the Sabie River in terms of its aquatic diversity and relatively unimpacted state.

Ongoing eutrophication problems related to phosphorous runoff from agricultural fields and urban construction sites.

Fragmentation of management activities and relating to lake management.

Designation of priority watersheds and influx of associated funding.

sources of alternative ideas and approaches
French Musée Camarguais and the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves provided inspiration for alternative, more integrated, management approaches.

Failure of existing approaches, such as Ramsar Wetland designation, highlighted the need for more integrated approaches.

The knowledge and experience of different groups and agencies active in wetland conservation.

Growing ecological understanding (especially associated with the Kruger Park Rivers Research Programme) increased appreciation of the need for systemic approaches to river conservation.

The sector-specific knowledge of the different stakeholders enabled identification of actions to improve river flow without jeopardizing livelihoods, e.g., ringbarking riparian invasives, allocation of irrigation withdrawals.

Scientific expertise associated with the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

adoption and diffusion of new ideas
Visionary leadership was critical to developing the new approach, gaining support for the approach, and providing the ongoing drive to get it implemented.

Engaging stakeholders and gaining their support, largely through one–on–one meetings where the new approach was framed in ways that the different stakeholders could relate to, was critical to the adoption of the new approach.

Institutional support from the municipality ensured continuity and support for core staff.

Social entrepreneurship and leadership was central to engaging stakeholders and managing conflict among stakeholders.

Field trips and social activities (e.g., barbequing) were central to building understanding of different stakeholder needs and a team spirit of shared commitment to goals.

Developing commonly agreed upon objectives and goals for river management, supported by all key stakeholders, was central to adopting and implementing new management approaches.

Entrepreneurship and committed leadership and political know-how was central to developing a politically acceptable new management approach.

Provision for representation on the new commission by key interest groups was central to making it politically acceptable.

Institutional support from Dane County has enabled continuity of the new commission and support of core staff.

Granting of advisory powers to the commission strengthened it.