System Output

Get ready for presentation


The Output Step will take you back to the real world
One of the main aims of the Systems Approach Framework is to establish a permanent and effective dialogue between science, policy and stakeholders in your coastal zone by using different tools and forms of communication.

In the Output Step the scientific results that have been received out of the Appraisal Step will be presented to the reference group audience who had initially defined the policy issue.
In the Output Step you will now conduct a Stakeholder Forum to present the results that have been produced in the prior steps. These findings will have to be presented and explained to the stakeholder and policy clientele with the objective of then entering a deliberation process.

A major importance in the Output Step is on the translation from scientific language used in the Formulation and Appraisal Step to target group oriented language. This implies the explanation of the findings in an understandable way for non-modeller and/or lay clientele; referring to the different policy options and the ecological, social and economical impacts of the modelled scenarios.
Some members of the audience will have been involved in the prior steps and might not be starting from a zero point of understanding whereas others will have less knowledge about the process.  In the Output Step you will therefore need to reflect different levels of understanding and it will be crucial to recapitulate the process for transparency during your science-policy consultation. This will include explanations about uncertainties, about long term benefits, tradeoffs, data gaps, and more.
The Output Step manual will give you guidelines on how to prepare the science-policy consultations, what needs to be considered when approaching the bigger stakeholder audience and what presentation formats can be used. There will also be guidance for conducting deliberations using a set of deliberation support tools.
Click here to recapitulate where you are when entering the Output Step

Prepare your mind / prepare for engagement

Science-policy and science-society consultations in the Output Step
By now you know that the SAF methodology attempts to capture, identify and visualize the specific reciprocal effects and impacts of ecological, social and economical development processes in a geographically limited area of a coastal zone.

In the Output Step the information shall now be presented in such way that the context and the variety of perspectives are made clear, and the scientific information appear in a language and interpretations that make them become understandable for different stakeholders. In addition to this, the SAF application imparts knowledge about the method and the limits of modelling, as well as about which interest level, which horizon, style, which way of presenting the information will lead to a possibility of acceptance. 

In the prior steps of formulating and assessing the model, only selected stakeholders have been involved to give input and feedback. In this final step however, the scientific results will be presented to a wider audience of stakeholders, managers and policy makers in order to initiate or ideally continue a deliberation process. Now, those stakeholder groups that have jointly deliberated and decided on a policy issue to be tackled, will be invited again to see the results of the different scenarios which are based on different policy options.

In order to utilise the full potential of the SAF methodology, it is crucial that the participating practitioners of the science–policy and science-society consultations fully understand the objectives of the SAF approach: This is to mobilize the best available scientific knowledge on the sustainability of coastal systems and to integrate the ecological, economic and social aspects of this knowledge into one holistic System Approach Framework that will be used to explain the dynamics of coastal zone systems and potential consequences of alternative policy scenarios. This is illustrated in the above figure as an eternal policy making cycle where your contribution to policy-making is found in the upper left corner of the cycle. The model outputs are then taken to the «real world» of human beings who pursue interests, have intentions and are conditioned by social institutions. In the upper right corner of the cycle, the system model output scenarios are then used to consult with the reference group and if possible involve them in deliberations over preferred futures. In the latter case it is important to be aware that stakeholders in the course of deliberation processes gradually become policy makers with ambitions to influence on the policy decisions and policy changes. Thus, involvement of coastal zone citizens in science policy deliberations has real life political consequences that have to be taken into consideration before starting a science policy deliberation.

When practicing any form of science – policy consultation, it is of paramount importance to communicate clearly that policy solutions reached after a very thorough systems modelling process and a very inclusive policy deliberation process, should not be regarded as «final solutions» , as panaceas that can cure all problems in the coastal zone.  This is reflected at the bottom of the above figure where policy changes are seen as continuing experiments in complex systems and where the outcomes of policy decisions are seen as consequences that affect he ecological, economic and social elements of a systems modelling – and thus the basis for a new round of science –policy interaction.

Some principles of effective science-policy practices
When engaging in the communication process with the stakeholders, it needs to be understood that models are as a start not understandable to non-modellers or lay people. They cannot and must not be entirely understandable. The nature of such scientific language is not the language for “presentation” to the broad public. It is a sophisticated communication technique for experts.
It is a technique – in which short technical terms need to represent bigger systems and their interrelations. Those technical terms act as symbols. They act as proxies with the purpose of activating existing knowledge in the scientific audience.
Now – in the SAF approach – these same experts will share their knowledge with practitioners and with the public – for the use by stakeholders and for the stakeholder’s use in Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

Whilst - as highlighted above - there is no panacea for knowledge-based policy-making; experience has proved there are a number of principles that can provide useful guidelines for better science and policy integration.  A series of European workshops on ‘Science meets Policy’ have explored the challenges and opportunities for making better use of science in environmental policy-making and have provided a number of pragmatic messages (SMP, 2005).  These practical viewpoints are presented below with some ideas on how these might influence scientists’ practices’ during the Output phase of the SAF research process. 



Relevance to Output Step

Opportunities for dialogue

Dialogue not only improves communication, but also mutual understanding.  It helps with aspects of knowledge sharing that are widely under-estimated in their importance: familiarity, building of trust, acceptance and informal interaction.

Dialogue and deliberation are central components to the Output Step.  As described in later sections, deliberation is a cornerstone of this phase of the SAF and effective deliberation and dialogue provide key opportunities for the effective integration of science into policy. Deliberation involves discussion: it is a two-way process of information exchange.

Dissemination is not dead

Although a style of research should be fostered in which researchers and policy-makers interact throughout, there is still an important role for dissemination especially as policy processes and networks become more diffuse, open and consultative. 

Stakeholder deliberation and engagement are processes that have been encouraged throughout the SAF with as wide a group as possible.  In this final Output Step, there are clear results and outcomes to present: so that dissemination becomes an important component of the broader dialogue process.  At this particular stage there is a clear opportunity to revisit the composition of a stakeholder group and potentially broaden the range of people to whom results are disseminated.  This may for instance include stakeholders who did not have the resources or time to be involved for all of the SAF process or engage with the wider community. Broadening from a two-way conversation with a small group of stakeholders, to include consultation with as wide a group of stakeholders as possible – is an important feature of the engagement at the Output Step. 

Transparency and openness

Transparency is where the workings of decision-making groups and discussions are made visible and accessible: openness is where these processes bring in a wider range of interested and affected groups than the traditional categories of ‘experts’ and ‘policy-makers’.

Scientists need to be as clear and open as possible about the assumptions and approaches that were used to generate the presented results and ensure as wide a group of stakeholders as possible have the opportunity to hear the results and to read them in the written documentation of the Output Package.

Strength of evidence

‘Strong science’ presented in a meaningful way, for example, the costs of not addressing the problem and the budget required for implementing these solutions. Researchers need to interact to ‘road-test’ the viability of any policy prescriptions they are suggesting: processes are required which bring evidence together as well as identifying areas of remaining uncertainty and ignorance.

Scientists should work within both the Appraisal and Output Steps of the process to ensure that the scenarios that are presented as part of the Output Step are as robust as possible and in particular within the institutional, legal and social framework within which they are being presented: this is critical to achieving ‘meaningful strong science’.

Relevance of research

No-one wants to support ‘bad’ science, so scientific excellence will remain a central consideration, but the relevance criteria such as significant and urgency needs to be actively considered. 

An obvious aspect to consider within this phase of the SAF: the SAF process should be built around a policy-issue that was identified with stakeholders as useful and relevant. It is important to ensure that the relevance of the research (including its problems and assumptions) are clearly presented to stakeholders within the Output Step.  Failing to ensure a full and clear interpretation of the project outcomes may undermine the research results and prove to be harmful to science and policy integration.

Problem focus

A focus on real-world problems: this is a necessary distinction because academic disciplines often define research problems in narrow ways; leading to research that is abstract, narrow and irrelevant. 

It is at this stage of the SAF process that there is the clear necessity to return to the ‘real world’ and clearly embed the scientific and modelling results back into the wider context of the site and the coastal zone.  Not only will this provide the greatest opportunity for the science to be embedded within any emerging or existing policy, but may also provide additional policy issues within a further iteration of any SAF process.


Consistently identified as a priority, yet there remain many institutional barriers to inter-disciplinarity within many research- as well as policy- organisations.  This needs to be addressed by researchers, research funders and policy-makers. 

When designing and presenting the modelling results it is important to highlight the links between the ESE components.  If one aspect is not as represented as well as others within the model or within the scenarios it is important to be explicit about this and how it affects the results.  If possible it may be useful to have scientists from different disciplines present to highlight that different aspects of the complex coastal system have been included and who would be available to answer discipline specific questions.

Asking the right questions

This is not merely a chance to enhance communication.  Researchers need to ask relevant constituencies ‘if we are doing research in this area, what questions would you want answered?’

Asking the right questions is essential at the beginning of the SAF process, but it is also fundamental towards the end; revisiting the fundamental questions of the stakeholders and presenting scientific results that attempt to answer these questions.  Therefore, at the output stage it is relevant and recommended that scientists return to discussions that were held about the policy issue and the key research questions discussed when selecting it.

Staying independent

It is not a question of whether researchers are affected by policy discourses and priorities but how, by whom and to what extent.  It is probably healthier to face up to influences on research than to try to ignore them.  If researchers actively interact with the full range of interested groups it enhances their ability to ‘see the whole picture’, identify salient questions and extreme views.

A key message for scientists when presenting their research to stakeholders: it is necessary to remain as independent and objective as possible.  Where there are obvious subjectivities or researchers have not been able to interact with as many organisations as possible, it is recommended that these issues are presented to give a clear a view as possible. This also gives opportunity for discussion on salient questions or views which may not have been incorporated in the SAF approach. 

It is also important that where possible scientists maintain a ‘distance’ from the decision-making process.  Scientists and other experts have the responsibility of advising policy-makers on the costs and benefits associated to the choices relevant to the decision-making process.  The experts’ role is to provide information on implications of methods and objectives.  The decisions regarding what any management process hopes to achieve and if achieving this goal is worth those costs identified by the expert community is the responsibility of the policy-maker.  Where the SAF process is not linked to a policy-making process: this focus on staying independent may not be as critical. However, it remains important when presenting results to stakeholders in the output stage to be clear of the remit and role of the scientific-research led process. 

Table 1) Principles of effective science-policy practices (after SMP, 2005)

Read more about basic principles about science-policy integration

General rules for planning a science-policy consultation
When planning a science-policy consultation, it is important to be aware

That any science-policy consultation takes place within a certain institutional and governance framework, where certain fundamental socio-ecological relations, (e.g. property rights, cultural traditions etc.) are very difficult to change and must be acknowledged, while other relations (e.g. laws and regulations) can be changed after due political process, and where again others can be changed more easily (e.g. permissions, plans, improvements, investments etc).

That the knowledge of such “constitutional rules” of what is easy and what is difficult to change has been duly mapped throughout the System Approach Framework process and is that it is also shared knowledge among the defined stakeholder groups and policy makers.

That reference is made up-to-date directives and methodologies, such as the, as well as to respective institutional and/or governance frameworks.

That the state of the art of knowledge of the complex costal socio-ecological system is preliminary, uncertain and will never be complete for all tracks of the outputprocess – regardless of the degree of formalization of the ecosystem modelling. Thus the knowledge base for policy decisions is “open towards the future”. This is the point of departure for science-policy consultations and deliberation processes.

That the level of participative communication cannot be modelled.

That the assumptions and the parameters used in the modelling exercise preceding this policy consultation, should be transparent (visible) and open to judgement and criticism by the various stakeholder groups.

That the assumptions and parameters of formal models can be changed after first
consultations and new simulations can be run on the basis of alternative assumptions.

Therefore, on the background of these simple heuristics, the instructions provided to the Stakeholder Forum and to the Deliberation Forum in the Output Step should not be considered as “the only way” to carry out a science-policy consultation. There is no panacea when it comes to knowledge-based policy making. Policy making should therefore be seen as never-ending experiments on socio-ecological systems, the effects of which should be constantly monitored and evaluated. Science and policy integration is about exploring and deliberating the meaning of ‘success’ and social goals, about spontaneous innovations that lead to improvements that are not foreseen – and exploring the understanding of the small variations in human activity that make a difference to the ecological, economic and social sustainability of decision-making. 

The instructions in this handbook should more be seen as a guide to get started in a science-policy consultation that can gradually be “taken over” by the stakeholders and contribute to their empowerment in Coastal Zone Governance.
Thus, when science in this way is taken to the policy arena, the outcome of the Output Step is fundamentally uncertain.

Ethical rules to ensure a successful Science Policy integration
In preparing a Science-Policy Consultation there are first of all four basic ethical rules to be followed in order that the Science and Policy interaction can take place in a way that enhances the quality of both, science and policy:

One is that due respect to be given to the local cultural traditions, the traditional ecological
knowledge (TEK) and the specific characteristics of a certain coastal location.

A second one is that the ICZM Science –Policy Consultation Process clearly belongs to the
stakeholder community; it is the groups here that are going to live with the outcome of such
processes, and to live with each other after the external agents and facilitators have left the
scene. The scientists and/or modellers need to see themselves in the role as being part of policy making and of citizenship. They have to accept that the political system and the social system exist and they have to be aware about the way these are functioning.
Possible pitfall: If the stakeholders are not sufficiently involved, they will not accept the decisions, they will not re-elect for long-term sustainable policy making approaches and they might never get back into such process again (with the same convenor).

A third rule is that throughout the Science-Policy Consultation sufficient consideration must be given to fundamental human rights and to due democratic rights to participate in policy
processes, irrespective of existing power relations. This also ensures that the processes are
transparent and legitimate – and efficient in the long run.

A fourth rule is that throughout the Science-Policy Consultation sufficient consideration must be given to preserving biodiversity and the continued functionality of crucial coastal ecosystems, in order to ensure long term ecological sustainability.

You can and should add to this list according to your local and cultural setting.

Prepare your presentation

Why to make sure that the presentation is of good quality?
Because the audience will consist of people who generally lead busy lives. This means that it is not possible to simply give the information to them and then leave them on their own for “digesting” it. Always take into consideration the time factor.
As indicated above: To effectively portray the results of the System Approach Framework it is imperative that we present our findings in such a way that they are:

We therefore must be careful to present the information from the systems approach framework at a level that can be understood by the audience, be they policy-makers, stakeholders or interested members of the community. 

Be aware that when speaking with the reference group and when presenting the results to them, it will be essential to have read their relevant documents and be well informed about their interests and opinion. It is helpful to pick up these aspects when presenting and when writing down the scenario results so that the audience / the respective reference group see an immediate interrelation and usefulness for their work and stakes. They will see the need for receiving this information and thus be more interested than if they had not been given the coherency between their interest and the scenario presentation. Of course this includes taking into consideration the institutional frameworks of the possible policy options.

At this stage you will discover if you did a thorough and good work in the first two steps of the SAF application. In other words: the better you did in the Issue Id and in the Design Step, the better you are prepared for the Output Step.

Read more about institutional mapping
Read more about the relevance of the Issue ID and Design Step tasks for the Output Step
Look up the economic tools and how to use them in the Output Step
Cost Benefit Analysis
Economic Valuation
Financial Analysis
Input Output Analysis
Multicriteria Analysis

Build Facilitator-Scientist Tandem
For holding a presentation according to these general criteria it is highly recommended to invite a professional facilitator (henceforth called “the facilitator”). The facilitator can be a journalist (with a degree of knowledge in natural sciences), a professional facilitator or a person with professional skills and/or experience in transdisciplinary scientific work and science communication. The facilitator will not only moderate the presentation, he/she will also become the translator of the scientific presentation to move it to lay language. A procedure that has proven very suitable for this is the following:
The scientist and the facilitator will act as a tandem team. The scientist does the presentation. The facilitator will, after each step, repeat the information but in a different “language”. This can be done by asking “…have I understood you right?” or other supporting questions. In that way, there is no loss of credibility of the scientific results but at the same time an “easier” translation of the results is provided to the audience. The procedure also assures that not too much is being reduced by an external facilitator or that simplifications are made for wrong aspects.
Before the meeting, it is strongly recommended to meet with the facilitator who has (ideally) been well involved in the prior steps.

Taking advantage of Issue ID and Design Step activities
Not only to reflect the entire process but also to take advantage of all tools used in order to explain the outputs, it is highly recommended to thoroughly go back to the activities of the design step. The following tables will show you the importance of these for the Output Step.  The re-use and where appropriate, redevelopment of these social tools, has a number of general advantages. 

Building continuity of ideas:  Many of these social tools were introduced at the beginning of the SAF process and have been discussed and developed with stakeholders. They can therefore provide a thread of continuity through the SAF process and this has a number of advantages.  Building continuity can be used to encourage stakeholders to participate in the output step.  The use of concepts and ideas familiar to (or introduced by) the stakeholders in the earlier SAF steps will reinforce their role and ownership within the SAF process and can also reinforce prior learning.  This objective might be particularly important if the opportunities for stakeholder engagement within the preceding stages of the SAF (the Formulation and Appraisal step) have been limited.  In such instances it is very useful to consolidate and reconnect with ideas and processes shared with stakeholders in the design step. 

Creating better organisation: practical benefits: From a practical perspective, the tools provide a vehicle both for the identification of the range of stakeholders who should be participating in the Output step, as well as building a deeper understanding of their interests and agendas.  In addition to helping ensure that the ‘right people’ are participating in the stakeholder and deliberation activities, another practical benefit come from the fact that increasing knowledge of stakeholders interests and agendas provides the best foundation for the tailoring of presentation materials to fulfil the needs of the audience.  Finally, social tools can also be used as a framework for organising the agenda of the stakeholder and deliberation meetings.  Mapping of stakeholders and particularly conceptual modelling can provide a useful structure through which to present the simulation modelling and a vehicle for explaining how those aspects that have been able to be modelled interact with the rest of the un-modelled system.

Building more meaningful science: The key premise of the range of social tools presented for use in the SAF process is to facilitate a collaborative and deliberative approach to science and policy integration and promote the recognition of different constructions and viewpoints of the real world.  This premise is very important to the Output Step and promotes ideas that can be used to strengthen the usefulness of the SAF approach to real decision-making. Social tools are not always able to be fully included within a simulation modelling approach.  Using approaches which enable these social components to be integrated within the process, for example, using the conceptual model for structuring discussions of the model enables many additional aspects e.g. political pressures, management constraints, policy debates, time pressures to be incorporated.  This will ensure that the discussions and deliberations undertaken as part of the Output Step are as close to the real world as possible and may increase the likelihood that decisions are taken and that science will be transferred into policy. Utilising tools that maximise stakeholder engagement and deliberation of the issues can also go some way to ensuring the legitimacy of the process and ensuring a fair and equitable approach. 

Each of the tools can be considered as separate entities and a short summary of each of the specific tools in term of roles within the output step, and the key advantages of using the tool, can be viewed in the table provided at the end of this document.  The following sections focus on the thematic objectives and benefits from using the ‘toolbox’ as a series of interrelated tools and approaches.

Institutional mapping



Role within the output step

Your institutional map focuses on the rules which govern actors (e.g. who does what) and is a guide to action:  therefore it should play an important role in the output step which focuses on tackling the coastal system and returning to the ‘real world’
In conjunction with stakeholder mapping, at a basic level revisiting institutional mapping enables those with prescribed roles and responsibilities in the coastal zone to be identified for the purpose of participating in the stakeholder
The map is a prediction tool; highlighting that certain features of the social system (e.g. rules, policies, laws) will be encountered at one point or another in an impact-response chain of actions and/or a decision-making process. 
It can also be viewed as a prescriptive tool assisting the identification of those aspects of the system that can be changed more easily by policy making and the variables which are more difficult to influence; thereby identifying quick changes and those where long-term planning is required.  This is important information for discussing and agreeing most feasible management and governance option scenario(s).
The map can provide some perspective on differences between the documented policies or the model generated policies and how these policies will likely be implemented in the real world.  For example, the analysis of informal rules (e.g. cultural views of justice, equity) shows how well formal rules operate in practice. This provides a clearer basis for identifying best options for action and change in the system towards more sustainable coastal management.

Value/Key advantages of including the tool.

Differences and areas of common ground which are potentially concealed in stakeholder or deliberation forums and which are important in the political process of policy-making may be identified by utilising the maps. The institutional mapping exercise gives those convening the deliberation process important context information regarding the space that policy-makers have to take action and different organisations’ relationships to each other.
Identifying the formal power relations and management responsibilities will lead to a better appreciation of the constraints and opportunities for decision-making and management and this leads to more ‘meaningful strong science’.  For example, identifying who has the ability to influence decisions, who makes decisions and who has right to tell who to do what, allows the presentation and deliberation of options for management to be ‘intelligent’ to the dynamics of the stakeholder group.  
A better understanding of the stakeholders and their roles and functions assists in the tailoring of presentational materials within the output step and thereby helps the team developing the presentation to take into account different ways in which stakeholders learn, absorb and translate information.
Information on institutional and development history as well as the management legacy helps to avoid inefficient use of resources both in meetings and prior to the meetings discussing unfavourable options which may have already been rejected or failed in their implementation. In addition, it should also serve to assist in avoiding the repetition of previous mistakes.

Stakeholder mapping

Role within the output step

At the stage of the Output step stakeholder mapping provides the basis of the identification of participants within the output step’s stakeholder and deliberation forum. 

This should be used in conjunction with the institutional mapping and CATWOE/DPSIR to understand fully those with stakes within the coastal zone and to the relevant policy issue; gaining a deeper understanding of the inter-relations and agendas of different stakeholders and where conflicts are likely to exist. Without this, information the meetings are poorly informed and therefore less effective. 

Value/Key advantages of including the tool.

Utilising tools which permit the clear and early identification of the broadest range of people will provide the best opportunity for the widest range of stakeholders to be represented, thereby increasing the likelihood of effective feedback on the research results (whether this is the broadest range of feedback or from the key stakeholders) and a greatest legitimacy of the outputs

Similarly, using the tools to identify all those with relevant interests (and subsequent representation within the process) may lead to decision-making occurring and the policy utilisation of the research findings.

Has the practical advantage of enabling the targeting of presentations to all stakeholders – and the identifying the need for more than one meeting if deemed necessary.

Selection of the Policy Issue

Role within the output step

An understanding of how the policy issue was selected (in terms of both who was involved and how the selected issue interacts with other issues in the coastal zone) provides essential background information for discussing the research outputs.  This will also return the discussion back to the original aims of the SAF and the ecological dysfunction of interest and therefore ‘close the loop’ and may enhance the transference of the project findings and recommendations into policy and action.

Recognition of the impact that the choice of the Policy Issue has had upon the modelling results, especially in relation to the different ESE components that have been able to be modelled. The PI selected may mean that different elements of the system may be emphasised over others and therefore this needs to be understood when delivering the SAF output. 

Value/Key advantages of including the tool.

Re-discussion of the PI (and its selection) should maximise engagement in the Output Step as it reinforces the prior role of the stakeholders in this selection and their place as decision-makers (assumes that they were effectively integrated at the beginning) thereby reinforcing prior learning and prior engagement. 

For those stakeholders who were not effectively integrated at the beginning or interested parties who have subsequently become involved, explaining the reasons for the selection of the PI (especially when the priorities may overlap with theirs) not only provides essential background information, but may be used to attract interest and participation within the output step – thereby broadening engagement.

Reflection on the influence of the Policy Issue on the outcomes of the SAF provides both a context, and in some cases a justification, for the decisions made when modelling.

Explaining and justifying the choice of the policy issue and its boundaries may help to manage the expectations of stakeholders about study outputs and decisions able to be made from these results.

Conceptual modelling

Role within the output step

The conceptual model developed in the Design Step should provide a clear structure for the discussion of the results, scenarios and potential management interventions (e.g. scientists can use the conceptual model to illustrate those components which have been incorporated within the simulation model, those elements that are outside of it and how they interact).  It can therefore be used to structure the debate within the deliberation forum.
The model can serve as a linking mechanism between the beginning of the SAF process and the presentation of the outputs.   In some instances scientists may have selected to refine their original conceptual models throughout the SPICOSA process and in particular on reaching the Output step.  In these cases it is important that this process of refinement is explained, and where possible undertaken with the input of the stakeholders.
A conceptual model is flexible enough to identify the different scales at which different elements of the system may function.  This permits a discussion of these scales and their influence alongside the model results.

Value/Key advantages of including the tool.

If stakeholders were actively involved in the production and validation of the conceptual modelling then the use of the conceptual model may legitimise the process as well as reinforcing prior learning. 
The model should provide the background information for the introduction of different management options (e.g. what action is required; who needs to take these actions and what attitudes might need to alter in order to achieve these changes).  Using the conceptual model that has been developed can clearly illustrate those actors, activities and environments that a decision may impact and any subsequent impacts, thereby facilitating the selection of a management option
The inclusion of scale is valuable to the Output step as for deliberation to be most effective and for management options to be adopted, the different geographical and temporal scales of management need to be recognised.


Role within the output step

CATWOE enables a better understanding of different perceptions and different worldviews re- contextualising the engagement process in the Output Step
This tool in particular focuses on those stakeholders who have direct interaction with the system and therefore on affecting change.

Value/Key advantages of including the tool.

Understanding the different subsections of opinions better both prior to and during a deliberation forum, may serve to highlight potential opportunities for change or conflicts and enable a proactive response.

It is useful when identifying the problem, prompting thinking about what might be achieved and also when seeking to implement the solution, assisting consideration of the impacts on the people involved.

Click here to read the whole article on using social tools in the output step

Structure, design and extend of the presentation
To maximise the effectiveness of the outputs of the System Approach Framework, it is good to provide your information using a number of formats.  This increases the likelihood that the way that the information has been provided will be useful to all members of the audience. 

There are several things which need to be taken into account when choosing how to present material to an audience.  These may include:

There are some general examples of effective ways of presenting data and the suggestions of where these techniques may be used to best effect. Certainly, the various options for presentation formats of the scenario results are strongly dependent on local cultures and traditions of the respective European areas and the scale of implementation. However, each of them should always be backed up by a traditional print out of the information (the Output Package).

You should have three bigger blocks in your presentation:

This loop is then to be repeated for the other scenarios to be presented

Even or especially while working with a variety of different formats, indispensable to follow a clear and consistent structure and to also visualize this structure.
A consistent visualisation within this structure does not mean that you shall not switch between different formats (text, image, animation, etc.). It implies that when switching, you shall pay attention on the coherent use of different visualization options. This can be done by colour coding (for example the economic or ecological dimension), by using the same type of size, shape or colour for the same steps of the explanations (for example for the input, scientific information and interpreted results three different colours or formats), or by using the same diagrams and measurements for the same type of results (such as always bar charts for economic data and always kilograms for weight units). Note that this may seem obvious but plays a crucial role in making all results comparable and easily understandable!

A summary of certain general rules that will help you to prepare these visualisations and use of formats:

Once again: the more thorough you focus on this step of your preparation, the easier it will be for the audience (and for you) to compare the scenarios  and to be able to compare the outputs and possible impacts, possible futures of the policy options.

In case you would like to show one of the scenarios or even all of them by letting the model run, it is recommended to only once show the “deeper parts”, i.e. the graphs and functions of the different model blocks in detail, for example when speaking about uncertainties and assumptions. This is because the objective of holding the forum is to compare the different outputs and not of making the reference group understand the mathematical processes on which the models are based. E.g. there is most probably no need for presenting the details of a nitrogen block – what counts is to explain well, what nitrogen does or what it does not do.
If there are demands for in depth explanation the facilitator will decide on whether this can be done in the forum or in a separate session.

Structure of the presentation

Following the objective of the System Approach Framework and the aim of entering a deliberation process after having presented the scenario results, the presentations should be kept short. This implies the following time sequence as a recommendation:

Your presentation should ideally not be longer than 1 1/2 hours.
A recommended time frame is

Remember that the reference group should also receive written documentation of the presentation in form of the output package.

Multi-format use
A picture is worth thousand words” (Fred R. Barnyard)
A good tool for structuring your presentation is the method of multivision.
Doing your presentation in multivision implies more than just a regular power point presentation and more than just showing graphs and digits to the audience. It is an illustration of what has been done in the modelling process, why it has been done and its use for the target group; a support element for your explanations. Don’t confuse this way of presentation with loss of credibility of your scientific results. If done thoughtfully, it will be a good method to do an emotional but at the same time scientific presentation and thus to avoid conflict and people missing out on details.
To present your results in a multivision format you will need to structure your presentation into a combination of appealing texts and images / image effects (possibly even sounds) and cooperate with an experienced facilitator. 
To visualize well gives you the opportunity to present complex issues in a plausible, clear and demonstrative form. Decomposing complexity can often be an effective vehicle for communicating complex issues. Remember that you will need to make sure that your models and explanations need to be presented self-explanatory on a communication level and not on a scientific level. This implies that by communicating and visualizing well, the results will become understandable for the audience whereas the scientific outputs of the Appraisal Step might not necessarily be understandable to non-scientists.

Visualizing with a thoroughly selected combination of text, images and animations (which can be “extend” or other software interfaces), brings an advantage compared to a one-format presentation (just text, just video or just graphs). It broadens the input of the multiple content-dimensions and reaches people with different perception habits (for some stakeholders, information is more understandable when presented in texts, for others, this would be images, maps, graphs or animated models). The smart and clear combination is what counts. 
Besides bringing an engaged or „emotional“ dimension into the scientific presentation, this way of presenting your scenarios will provide a good basis to refer to “the real world”, i.e. to institutional frameworks, to recent political, regional or global events, to impacts for stakeholders, as well as a good basis for feedback and deliberation. It is thus very an adequate option for a transdisciplinary presentation.

For presenting your scenarios, it might be worth organising a big screen and a high resolution data projector rather than regular ones.
Keep in mind that this is the last step of the loop – but it should certainly not be the last interaction with your stakeholder group. If the stakeholders remember the presentation of the results as a good and professional event, there will be a higher probability for them to stay in the interactive dialogue and also to spread the information in their surroundings (ideally leading to a higher level of acceptance of decision-making processes in the respective region).

Working with scenarios
Scenarios are stories of the future that motivate people to do something“ (U. Golüke)

A coherent, internally consistent and plausible description of a possible future state of the world. A scenario is not a forecast; rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future can unfold. A projection may serve as the raw material for a scenario, but scenarios often require additional information (e.g., about baseline conditions). A set of scenarios is often adopted to reflect, as well as possible, the range of uncertainty in projections.

It is useful here to reconsider the term scenario:

A coherent, internally consistent and plausible description of a possible future state of the world. A scenario is not a forecast; rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future can unfold. A projection may serve as the raw material for a scenario, but scenarios often require additional information (e.g., about baseline conditions). A set of scenarios is often adopted to reflect, as well as possible, the range of uncertainty in projections.

Definition as given in the Glossary of this handbook

When meeting with stakeholders the team will make use of scenarios to illustrate the SAF process. A scenario can be considered one of a possible set of descriptions of how the future may develop, based on a coherent set of assumptions regarding key relationships and driving forces. In a SAF, scenarios are developed on the base of numerical models of defined variables of a coastal system, which can be used to simulate how the virtual system may function with regard to a certain policy or management option. Note that scenarios are neither predictions nor forecasts. During Issue Identification Step a scenario is a narrative account of how a particular management option might be implemented; ultimately, a particular set-up for a numerical model of a CZ system that can be used to simulate how the ‘virtual’ system will function if the option is implemented. In contrast, a storyline is a narrative, based on a specific set of premises that will define one of possible trajectories of a system, given a specific scenario.

Why do we work with scenarios?
We want to empower policy makers to be able to make decisions more efficiently and in as much coherence as possible with “their” stakeholder’s interests. In general, scenarios serve communication processes and sometimes they have the function of a work tool and means for obtaining conclusions in the beginning of an implementation process.

The interaction and deliberation with reference groups is a continuous development during the work with scenarios. The scientists should be aware of the fact that scenarios are used to assess and evaluate the implementation of the SAF and to explore different pathways.
When publishing or presenting scenarios, the illustration has to comply with the demands of the target group; e.g. for fishermen a different language is needed than for regional managers. Explanations need to be expressed in different levels of detail and analytical depths.

Projections or visions of the future have always inspired the thinking of possibilities and provided incentives for creativity. Be it a warning, a visionary desire – scenarios display possible futures and can give orientation for actions.
Scenarios of activities taking place on the coastal zone thus serve as a basis for communication and discussions about the possible futures of the social-ecological dimensions of the respective the coastal zone systems.

The SAF opens the method of scenarios to the stakeholder community
We have learned that scenarios are pluralistic, future-oriented models of the possible future state of coastal zones (though they can also include extreme cases and therefore have the character of an early warning).
With the help of scenarios, a wider stakeholder audience can learn about the decision-making process. Scenarios can let the reference groups reflect possible consequences of management or policy options and open opportunities for action.
The aim of communicating and presenting the scenarios is that stakeholders become aware of the different alternatives for the future as coherent combinations of a great number of variables.

If asked for a long-term simulation:
Stanislaw Lem told us: “I can tell you what will happen in 200 years but not how the world will function in two or five years”
When you want to describe tendencies or broad tendencies with a scenario, it is possible to do the simulation for 100 years, thus it will reflect the importance of sustainability for future generations. However, this does not have much use for the contemporary local decision-making processes. It is just about possible for people to imagine the next generation. Long-term scenarios are therefore recommended to be used mainly as a pedagogical support tool: To show how one long-term scenario can be worth as an exercise for visualising and imagining inter-generational responsibility you are referred to the basic principle of the Brundtland Report.

Run a requested scenario
A way to show the usefulness of scenarios to the stakeholders is to use the rather fast response time of the models. This implies that the audience can request a given scenario in the form of changing parameters that can be controlled, e.g. a xx% reduction in nutrient emission or a yy% in a model increase in fishing effort, and the results can immediately be shown.
If running a model ‘on demand’ for the audience, you will have to be even better prepared for feedback questions because you will need to do ad-hoc interpretations of the results if a certain parameter is changed / a policy option is modified in the course of a meeting.
When presenting the scenarios in such a way, you will come to the point where the question is raised “what do I need to do in order to change this scenario, this future”. This implies the opportunity for the stakeholders to “influence” the system. The scientist will have to be well prepared to answer those arising action-oriented questions. These are tackled more in detail in the Appraisal Step during the interpretive analysis.

Remember that the ‘proof run’ of specific scenarios should have take place in collaboration with the reference group. Similarly, scenarios can be established through consultation of relevant local documents, such as local development plans. Examples of possible scenarios may include the development of a specific activity, such as aquaculture or tourism, in the form of marina development, for example. These scenarios can be used for illustrative purposes and can actually be based on a real case-study.

Read more about the work with scenarios

Preparing written documentation / output package

Preparation of an Output Package
The documentation accompanying the model/scenario presentation will have three main functions:

It has again to be clear that the readers of this documentation will consist of a variety of diverging stakeholders, policy makers, managers or local authorities who have different interests, different agendas, time horizons and a common regional history as well as personal relationship structures.

In order to provide the stakeholder and policy making clientele with a documentation which we call ‘output package’, it will be necessary to adapt the scenarios to the reception habits of the respective group / audience and to chose and modify the information to specific formats, as well as giving short guidelines on how to actually read the material.

The output package will follow the general aim of the Output Step and translate structure and reduce the scientific information received from the previous steps and deliver them in an information package for the reference group, which will support the preparation and wrap-up of the science-policy and science-society consultations. The scientific information of the scenarios will be translated into different language codes with regard to the different levels of purpose (Gebrauchswert) of the reference group clientele (levels of interest, decision-making and hierarchy levels).

In the following paragraphs you find recommendations on how to structure your output package. When reading and applying these recommendations, please keep in mind that the output package - the documentation of the process that the reference group went through with you - is the take home information for them and for others who could not join the entire process. It will thus be crucial for the integrated process to thoroughly prepare a  standalone piece of work.
Note that the facilitator, who supports the presentations, shall also be consulted, ideally be part of the preparation of the handout documents.

Format of the Output Package
In order to structure and design the Output package, you are strongly recommended to follow the exact same sequences, designs and structure of your presentation in the Stakeholder Forum. Here are the sequences again:

As already started when preparing and holding your presentation, your modelling results will need to be translated into narrative and visual ‘stories’, so that they can be understood by the interested reader independently from participation in the Stakholder Forum.

It is suggested that for the introduction part (blue boxes) you don’t spend more than seven pages. For describing the scenarios (red boxes), don’t spend more than five pages per scenario. Don’t spend more than five pages for comparing the scenarios (yellow boxes).  These limits already include graphs, images, textboxes and diagrams. Remember that you will have all the scientific in-depth information at hand after implementing the Appraisal Step. You can deliver this information on request or as addendum at any time.

Coherent magazine format
Be creative when preparing the Output Package. As explained above, the readers will generally lead busy lives, so they need compact, credible and understandable information.
Make sure that you are working in the facilitator-scientist tandem again; especially if your facilitator is a professional journalist and has already participated in the prior steps.

Follow these recommendations when preparing your written documentation:

When deciding on the different formats, you can categorize in theoretical, scientific, practical and illustrative parts or on interpretive vs. objective aspects. What you need to make sure is to follow the same layout and narrative style throughout the whole output package, as well as using the same general measurements (kg’s, meters, etc), colour codes and visualization formats as in your presentation.

Never stop referring to the ‘real world’! If you make the output package look like a scientific paper, it takes dynamics out of the social process that you have started with your stakeholder engagement.
It is important that besides the demonstration of the scientific results you include a narrative translation of the different scenarios. Basically you can answer the question: what will a possible future look like (in year 20xx) if policy option a) b) or c) will be implemented? Make sure to do so for every scenario to be presented.
Don’t hesitate to even personalize this:
It is possible to go as far as briefly describing a day in the life of a fishermen and an agriculturist in the year 2030 (or any other year your scenario is based on). This will bring local and personal identification into the document. Scientifically sound identification. It will neither patronize the scientist nor the reader. It will be one of the connection points to the real world, a connection point between science and society. You will notice that writing such paragraph or narrative story of the possible future of a fishermen will be an ambitious and in a way highly challenging task for the scientist-facilitator tandem. Good practices have shown that it is indeed useful to translate scenarios into the daily life and daily cultural situations of stakeholders.

Remember: Entering the Output Step means crossing disciplines for all of us!

Every scientist and/or the relevant facilitator should be aware of the fact that reference group members come from specific target groups and from different environments. They have their own language and codes, through which they articulate and negotiate their interest within their own groups. The natural scientists need to be aware of this challenge when entering the dialogue with the reference group, when tackling the interfaces of the social-ecological system. This makes it a semantic work task: The translation into the everyday language of the target groups. For this, you should informally consult a ‘translator’ of the reference group.
The scientist explains the results that come out of the prior steps. They then let the reference group member explain those results in their own language (Tourism, Fishery etc). This prepares you for the type of language that you will need to use in your output package as well as in your presentation. In this translation it should be avoided to go deep into the mathematical methods of the modelling process, into the scientific and methodological questions or the mathematical presentations of the results. When translating, it is also strongly recommended to take the perspective of the reference group members and implicated consequences for them. What where the consequences that became apparent during the modelling process.
You should also be aware that the different reference group members will have different cultural interpretive frameworks (see traditional ecological knowledge). What seems important to the modeller (scientist) in the context of the scenarios does not necessarily need to be of importance to the stakeholders or policy makers. Consequently you need to adapt your translations to the values and norms of the different target groups.

What to do with the Output Package?
The output package should be made available before the Stakeholder Forum. It should be delivered in digital and printed version and made available also after the meeting upon request and to those unable to attend.

Organise meeting

Meet with a peer group

A first round of the presentation should be done with a peer group. It is in this case possible that the peers are opinion leaders. However, at this step it is important, to minimize possible errors. This test-round will need to be organised prior to the Stakeholder Forum and the peers will need to be invited, i.e. the peers will need to take some of their time to come and an invitation thus needs to go along with an incentive to take part.
The presentation to this group will be a good indicator to reveal pitfalls of your presentation. Make sure to take seriously any remark, any feedback obtained during this test-run.


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