Step 3: Investigate Options

Do you have a clear list of actions stakeholders are willing to support?

Step 3 Overview

Substep

Description

3.1 Brainstorm potential solutions Develop a wide-ranging list of alternatives and strategies that could reduce risk.
3.2 Learn from others Explore case studies and adaptation planning resources.
3.3 Evaluate potential solutions Decide which of your options represent viable actions.
3.4 Refine your goals Consider what you’ve learned and reassess where you’re going.
3.5  Decision point Are stakeholders committed to implementing the group’s favored solutions?

Instructions on these pages encourage you to gather specific types of information. You may find it convenient to download this prepared spreadsheet and use it to record input as you move through the steps. 

Access the Steps to Resilience glossary for definitions and examples of words related to resilience.

3.1 Brainstorm potential solutions

Develop a wide-ranging list of alternatives and strategies that could reduce risk.

Though some stakeholders may already have a favored solution in mind for protecting specific assets, now is the time to think expansively to come up with actions that could reduce risk for all stakeholders. The larger and more diverse your pool of suggestions, the likelier you are to identify an innovative response that addresses the problem and offers additional co-benefits.

Analyzing past events can be an efficient way to identify potential solutions: working backwards from a negative impact, look for any points in the process at which an intervention could have improved the outcome. Follow a similar process to identify actions that could be effective in preventing future damage.

» Compile a table of potential solutions and strategies on the Options tab of your spreadsheet.

The following prompts may help you elicit additional innovative solutions:

  • If money were no object, what would you do?
  • Is there a partial solution that you could implement now, and complement it with further action at a later time?
  • What steps could improve resilience without spending any money?
  • Could a public education campaign reduce risk by raising awareness of an issue?

3.2 Learn from others

Explore case studies and adaptation planning resources.

The Climate Resilience Toolkit offers more than 100 brief case studies that document how people are building resilience to climate threats. You may find an account of how others responded when they faced the same climate threat or stressor as you. Consider if some part of their response is a possible option or strategy for your effort.

The Toolkit also offers access to reports released by a range of government and non-government organizations. Use filters on the Reports page to find content, such as adaptation planning resources, relevant to your topic of interest. 

» Record additional potential solutions and strategies on the Options tab of your spreadsheet.

3.3 Evaluate potential solutions

Decide which of your options represent viable actions.

Think through each option thoroughly. Project forward in time to imagine that a solution is in place, and then ask: Would the option have improved the outcome of past events? Will it be robust enough to handle the range of climate threats projected for the future?

In some cases, an option may seem like a great solution, but is not feasible if your group has no way to implement it or if the costs to implement it far exceed your budget. And some options may have unintended consequences.

» Assess each of your options and categorize them as feasible (green), potentially feasible (yellow), or not feasible (red) on the Options tab of your spreadsheet.

3.4 Refine your goals

Consider what you’ve learned and reassess where you’re going.

With a sense of the risk to various assets and a table of favored solutions in hand, ask yourselves if the planned scope of your project is still appropriate. Hold an open conversation to take stock of your current effort.

Consider if you need to reframe your focus or engage additional stakeholders. Check with each of your stakeholders to see if they are still committed to the evolving project. Recognize that some individuals may decide to form subgroups to focus more narrowly on their own issues of interest. As necessary, adjust your expectations and refine your goals.

3.5 Decision point

Are stakeholders committed to implementing the group’s favored solutions?

If the answer is yes, move on to Step 4. If the answer is no, go through this step again.

Last modified: 
8 December 2016 - 2:58pm
Tools: 
Access adaptation case studies, virtual library resources, a directory of adaptation practitioners, and a database of relevant tools on this comprehensive website. Users can also participate in community forums or contribute resources.
Owners and operators of drinking water and wastewater utilities can use this web-based tool to assess potential climate change threats and evaluate adaption options at their sites.