Innovation by design and teamwork in coastal management capacity building interventions

Dr Marcello Sano1, Dr Neil Lazarow1,2, Professor Rodger Tomlinson1

1Griffith Centre For Coastal Management , Southport, Australia, 2CSIRO, Canberra, Australia


Numerous approaches for stakeholder engagement can be used to understand the complexities of the system and to test possible solutions under different scenarios, however, more flexible and adaptive approaches can be used to improve traditional stakeholder-driven project design practices and idea-to-execution processes, in particular as part of capacity building programs.

Both Australia and other less developed or developing countries would strongly benefit from the systematic integration of innovative practices in capacity building processes and in the design of environmentally and financially sustainable coastal management interventions, including related services and businesses, beyond the classic publicly-funded project cycle.

In recent workshops in Indonesia and Chile, we have started testing some ideas of innovative coastal management design, with the final aim of involving participants in crafting new ideas which respond not only to the coastal conservation and resilience imperatives but also to financial viability, profitability criteria, with emphasis on the integration of the private sector in the design of sustainable coastal projects, services and businesses. The final aim is integrating innovative design in stakeholder engagement and capacity building programs in coastal management, with an emphasis on the cross-fertilization between the public and private sector and the community at large, integrating innovative approaches to optimize  product or project design and testing, such as design thinking, lean startup methods, agile and scrum methods and team building. These could also be effective in improving the participatory design and execution of coastal management interventions and the creation of financially viable coastal business models through public-private partnerships.


Dr. Sanò has more than a decade of experience in coastal science and management and climatic risks in coastal areas. He has international experience in research, consultancy and capacity building with projects in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, North Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Chile and Peru. He has developed approaches and worked on projects in coastal planning and management, climate change and coastal hazard risk adaptation, systems thinking and modeling, socio-economic studies and stakeholder engagement. He holds a PhD from the the University of Cantabria, Spain and a MSc in Marine and Environmental Science from the University of Genoa, Italy. Dr. Sanò joined the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management in Australia in 2010. He is the lead author of the Queensland’s Compendium of Coastal Hazard Adaptation Options (2012) and of the Guidelines for the preparation of Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategies for Queensland Costal Councils (2016).