Think pieces

POWERFUL THINKING

Written for public and private decision makers, the think pieces below explore key concepts and questions for Australia's economy, society and environment.
Capability Statement - Valuing environmental and social outcomes
This Capability Statement explains why quantifying the costs and benefits of investments and policies on environmental and social outcomes is critical for better investment decision-making and outlines our experience in apply non-market valuation techniques. See more...
Economic principles for practical coastal adaptation
This Aither Think Piece proposes an approach to assessing the costs and benefits of coastal adaptation that can provide decision makers with the information and confidence they require to make sound investment of the right scale at the right time. See more...
Prioritising natural disaster funding - mitigation vs recovery
This Aither Think Piece outlines how investment in measures to mitigate against the risks and consequences of natural disasters can be made more appealing to decision makers. See more...
The case for value-based water management
This Aither Think Piece highlights the benefits of incorporating the value of water to economics, communities and ecosystems in water management decisions. See more...
Enhancing organisational performance through evaluation
Aither has identified a range of success factors essential for effective organisational performance, which are critical for improving and demonstrating public sector outcomes. See more...
Driving urban water reform
There is a growing chorus calling for fundamental reform to Australia’s urban water sector. In this thought piece, Aither highlights how the challenges of population growth, increasing climate variability and broader economic conditions underscore the need for action. See more...
Note on water policy and management – January 2016
Australian reform is the envy of the world, but significant challenges remain. In this thought piece, Aither looks into 2016 and beyond, stepping through important challenges and highlighting critical opportunities for those involved in Australian water policy and management. See more...
Delivering increased value through enhanced public service offerings
This thought piece explores the increasing pressure placed on public organisations to demonstrate and increase the value of their services in a budget constrained environment. It argues that those organisations willing to change and innovate will always fare better, resulting in a greater slice of the budget pie. See more...
The importance of effective and robust targets
Aither’s ongoing work in program performance continues to highlight that the setting of effective and robust targets is critical for success. This thought piece provides guidance on the types of attributes effective and successful targets require. See more...
Investing in dams – the importance of getting water infrastructure economics right
The idea of building new dams to support agricultural and economic development is an important contemporary policy discussion in Australia. In this thought piece, Aither argues why understanding the full costs and benefits of new dams is crucial to inform investments that deliver the best outcomes. See more...
Overcoming constraints to environmental water trade
Australia has invested heavily to establish large environmental water portfolios. This thought piece argues that governments now have an obligation to overcome constraints to environmental water trade in order to achieve the greatest environmental returns. See more...
Market based approaches to securing regional Australia’s urban water supply
Aither’s recent work with regional water providers demonstrates the opportunity to cost-effectively deliver water security outcomes by taking a more strategic approach to water entitlement management. This thought piece presents this approach - arguing that strategic engagement by regional water providers in water markets can deliver more secure water supplies and also ensure customers have more affordable access to water in the longer-term.  See more...
Harnessing technology to solve complex environmental problems
Recent developments in smart technology and social media improve our ability to collect timely and high-quality data for environmental research. The next question facing the sector is how to fully harness this data. This thought piece argues that researchers and governments need to better leverage the opportunities that smart technology and citizen science present for delivering services and solving complex policy problems, or risk being made increasingly redundant and incurring unnecessary costs.  See more...
A principled approach to Australian emergency management
Aither’s recent review of emergency management arrangements points to clear principles that should guide the development of new policy and planning arrangements.This thought piece presents a list of six principles and advocates their merit as a robust conceptual foundation for future improvements.  See more...
Enhancing program performance
You’ve no doubt heard the expression; practice makes perfect. Why then do we do the opposite when it comes to the planning and delivery of government programs? This thought piece argues that programs imbedded with a robust monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement process are more resilient to change and ultimately more effective.  See more...
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