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Building with Nature Guideline > Toolbox > Environmental Economics > Visualising and managing uncertainties

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Visualising and managing uncertainties

Type: Framework

Project Phase: all

Purpose: To identify the type of uncertainties of a project and apply suitable strategies

Requirements: no special skills required

Relevant Software: none


This framework tool gives guidance on how to manage uncertainties in (BwN) projects. In projects using BwN design principles, uncertainty can play a bigger role than in traditional projects, as unpredictable natural dynamics are proactively used in the projects' design. Uncertainties can be managed with an appropriate strategy after identification and classification of the uncertainties. A classification for uncertainties en strategies for dealing with specific types of uncertainties are provided in this tool. The tool is meant especially for teams and managers developing BwN-type projects. No special skills are required.

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How to Use

There are no special requirements for the tool, such as software or specialist involvement. The tool is especially helpful for project teams and the project managers of promising (BwN) initiatives and can be used in the setting of a regular project meeting. The tool mainly consists of three steps:

  1. Uncertainty identification
  2. Uncertainty classification
  3. Uncertainty management

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Practical Applications

In the BwN project ‘Coping with uncertainty’, the method described above was applied in retrospect to the Sand engine, in order to identify the most important uncertainties. The results and lessons learned from this analysis that can be of importance in future BwN projects are described in this section. The above mentioned uncertainty management strategies were not applied using the described tool.

  1. Uncertainty and policy development
  2. Uncertainty range
  3. Acceptance
  4. Uncertainty as a weapon
  5. Role of reports
  6. Champions
  7. Timing

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