Boundary Chain Model

Model Overview

The Adaptive Boundary Chain Model (“ABCM”) links several boundary organizations to co-create usable climate information with practitioners.1 At the heart of the ABCM is the idea that while the co-production of knowledge can yield more usable climate information, the costs of sustained interaction for organizations, producers, and users of knowledge who engage in co-production are high. These costs include carrying out research and knowledge customization, time commitment and logistics to interact, financial, and human resources to sustain relationships, as well as the often intangible cost of building trust and legitimacy among scientific institutions, boundary organizations, communities, and individuals. To lower these costs, the ABCM links boundary organizations that perform different parts of the co-production process—including carrying out basic research, managing the interaction between scientists and users to increase knowledge usability, and applying and evaluating co-produced knowledge in different contexts—thereby bridging the gap between researchers and those that use scientific knowledge such as local governments, natural resource managers, farmers, businesses, and planners.

In principle, the ABCM works because these boundary organizations complement each other by relying on their previously established relationships with researchers and practitioners to build or maintain critical trust and legitimacy before, during, and after the co-production process. In addition, they manage process tasks such as organizing and leading interactive meetings and workshops between researchers and users and sustain their engagement through time. Hence, by linking with other organizations that already have the trust of potential users, GLISA avoids the costs of building such relationships from scratch. Potential users, in turn, have the opportunity to co-develop customized, salient knowledge that can support their decision needs. From GLISA’s perspective, by funding boundary organizations that have existing relationships with practitioners, the tasks of network building, building on stakeholders’ capacity to adapt, and co-producing knowledge become easier as costs are shared throughout the chain.

Model Structures

Linked Chain Model

Key Chain Model

Networked Chain Model

  1. Lemos, Maria Carmen, Christine J. Kirchhoff, Scott E. Kalafatis, Donald Scavia, and Richard B. Rood. “Moving Climate Information off the Shelf: Boundary Chains and the Role of RISAs as Adaptive Organizations.” Weather, Climate, and Society 6, no. 2 (April 1, 2014): 273–85.