Uncertainty reduction and risk assessment

The examples given in the preceding chapter illustrate the usefulness of Open Design methodology for resolving stalemate situations as a result of conflicting stakeholder interests, but also reveal some practical shortcomings.

What happens is, in essence, the following. Initially, the constraints of the various stakeholders are accepted at face value. The computer calculation of the LP model with these constraints then invariably gives the result: no solution possible. But it also specifies which constraints are the most important to achieve a positive solution space. The next step is to get the 'owners' of these crucial constraints around the negotiation table and to recalculate with changed constraints until a positive solution space is reached.

In practice, this procedure entails the following problems:

1. It is not known a priori to which extent crucial stakeholders will be prepared to change 'their' constraints.

2. In the LP model only one variable can be optimised. All other variables are constraints. Which variable should be selected as the one to be optimised is open to question.

3. Once a positive solution space has been reached, no further decision support information is provided related to the selection of the final solution (within the solution space).

In this chapter we describe some complementary concepts to resolve these problems (Van Gunsteren, 2000b).

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