Keynote address: Participative societies creating new challenges for the water sector

Organization International Water Association
Author Ben Schouten
Year 2016
Topics Water and Information and Communication Technology, Water & society
Level of action Water & Sanitation services/ Utility level


Games are used now to deal with wicked problems, those that resist to resolution,  as many that water managers deal with. They enable stakeholders to share information about the motiviations and viewpoints of others about a water issue. This information can help to come up with better solutions in the long run.

Top-down solutions usually leave customers, citizens and other parties outside of the conversation. Information technologies provide now with new opportunities to give them a voice, to empower them.  IT allow for a more participative approach for decision making in the water sector.

Ben Schouten is an advisor for the European Commission on the ‘Internet of Things’ as well as for the Dutch Cultural Media Fund, responsible for E-culture. He graduated from the Rietveld Art Academy in 1983 and found himself interested in patterns and iconography, and discovered his fascination for mathematics. In August 1995 he received a Master’s degree in mathematics, specializing
in chaos theory. In 1996 Ben Schouten founded, providing innovative internet related solutions. Together with the Dutch Design Institute (Vormgevings Instituut), Desk was internationally acknowledged with a webby award in gaming.