Strategies for developing transformative capacity in urban water management sectors: the case of Melbourne, Australia

Christoph Brodnik, Rebekah Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Individuals and organisations are pivotal in changing dominant practices in industry sectors by creating system-level conditions that facilitate transformative change. Yet, the types of agency processes best suited to develop such conditions are not well researched. This paper addresses this gap by empirically investigating how institutional entrepreneurs developed transformative capacity in a successful case of dominant practice change: stormwater management with Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) in the urban water management sector in Melbourne, Australia. We identify ten key strategies that institutional entrepreneurs employed to support the successful introduction, diffusion and establishment of WSUD. By interfacing these strategies with a transformative capacity framework, we describe which combinations of strategies are most relevant for developing different transformative capacity domains across three different phases. The paper contributes to theory on transformative capacity in socio-technical and socio-ecological systems research by providing practical guidance on how transformative capacity can be build up and by distinguishing and describing three distinct phases of transformative capacity development (Introductory Capacity, Diffusional Capacity, Establishment Capacity).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages13
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Institutional entrepreneurship
  • Practice change
  • Sustainable urban water management
  • Transformative capacity
  • Water sensitive urban design

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