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2B Barriers and enabling factors for digitalisation in the Swedish water sector

Background

Information-driven decision-making for asset management and maintenance of water infrastructure holds great potential for efficiency gains. Yet, the uptake of digital innovations appears to be slow compared to other sectors.  As large-scale water infrastructures are exposed to transformation pressure from ageing assets, demography, societal digitalisation, security risks and resource scarcity, identifying the innovation barriers – but also enabling factors – will be crucial. Our findings will also be relevant for other infrastructure-oriented organisations yet to make the digital leap.

Our approach is interdisciplinary and based on the social sciences and humanities, with an orientation towards the field of science and technology studies (STS). Method-wise, we use a case study approach, focusing on contemporary and recent historical cases of innovation in ICT and digital technologies in the sector. With this approach, we can analyse long-term sector experience of innovation and change.

Project goals

Specifically, our goals are to:  

  • determine and assess structural institutional or capacity-related barriers at sector level, and;  
  • identify enabling factors for adopting ICT and Digitalisation in municipal infrastructure asset management specifically applied to water and sewerage. 

The project is also funded by Digital Futures, read more here.