9 Jan 2017

Can you help me be more effective in helping you?

I've been working on water-, environment- and community-related political economy for nearly 15 years now, and I've tried many things.

It's hard to know what works or doesn't, since I am not selling burgers or books but giving away ideas.

As a teacher, I know that ideas can lead to different changes in different people. Some people will adopt the idea 100 percent because they hadn't thought of it. Others will line up my ideas against their own experiences and beliefs, perhaps changing a little here and there to get closer to their vision of how the world works or should be. In some cases, ideas have a greater impact because people take them into their communities and change other peoples' ideas and opinions.

But I don't know what works for who or where. Sometimes people tell me that my ideas helped them. Usually, I don't hear anything even though my ideas (or funny jokes!) may have had an impact.

So this "known unknown" is why I am asking for your help -- just as I ask my students for their feedback or ideas for improving my teaching -- on any of my activities (aguanomics, Life Plus 2 Meters, my talks and outreach or my academic work).

So, please email me or leave comments on any of the following questions:
  1. What can I do to improve my current activities?
  2. What activities are not so useful (I should do less of them)?
  3. What new ideas, people or activities should I look into?
Please remember that I am only trying to help people help themselves, as water policy (and environmental policy and community resilience) are all determined by local people working together...

Bottom Line: I want to produce the most benefit for you, with the lest (wasted) effort from me!


AK said...

I am mostly using your website and find it a valuable source of information and perspective.

I personally also favour text (written materials) as opposed to videos, because I can scan them more effectively - but my children are absolutely surprised at this preference, so I guess this is simply being a late adopter of new technology.

Johannes said...

I´m follower of your blog since many years. I´m indeed one of those persons interested in your perspective, links, ideas - but difficult to measure how it influenced my professional (and maybe personal) life. It surely opened my mind sometimes, and made me think. I often agree with your viewpoint, but not always. I´m quite passive on social media, so really I´m a silent follower. I would possibly be more responsive if their would be a closed group of your followers to communicate with. To be honest, I don´t feel comfortable sharing my viewpoint with the entire rest of the world.

I´d say you are already quite effective, at least to me. Besides your blog I follow hardly anything in our sector - you are unique in the sense that the issues/ideas you describe are really across disciplines. Most of the people blogging/tweeting, are focusing only on their own topic.

So please keep this going! Thanks a lot for all the food for thought that you share.

Anonymous said...

The added benefit of your blog, messages (and personal contact) etc. is that you come up with funny and strange perspectives on natural resources, which, even if you don't necessarily agree with them all the time, make you think of the subject in a different way. It's inspiring to know someone who is so passionate and involved in the subject; If I need to remind myself why I chose the field of water (treatment), it is refreshing to browse through the stuff on your blog.

Its also an interesting source of water news that you wouldn't normally read via the main channels, which is something you should really keep up.

--> I always have the idea I'm too late when it comes to attending interesting events/finding interesting info on water/sustainability whilst you seem very up to date on what's going on in Amsterdam. I'm really trying to be more involved but it's difficult to keep focus in between "normal" work stuff :s

I like the way you are not scared to work out a new idea and see how it pans out. You really try hard to make them work by continuous promotion and reminders (e.g. the city water project and life plus 2 meters).

--> If I can help out with the city water project, please let me know! I think it's really interesting (and good to wake up the conservative drinking water companies in NL :D )

--> I haven't really contributed to the life plus 2 meter project. I find it an interesting project and I'm definitely going to read volume 1. I just don't like writing very much :p

What else could you do: When I was studying I watched quite a lot of your you-tube lectures and realised that the economic perspective is really something that is missing in the MSc program of water management at the TU Delft. As subject on water economics/water resource management would really be a great addition to the program. --> I'm not sure you are allowed to with your current position at LUC. If you are, I might be able to connect you to some of the programme coordinators for an intro.

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