Needs before Tools: Using Technology in Environmental Conflict Resolution



Environmental conflict resolution practitioners have become increasingly interested in using information technology to work collaboratively across sectors. Discussions to date, however, have focused on specific tools rather than the underlying objectives that software can accomplish. Technology, like any other technique in a practitioner's repertoire, is a solution to a specific challenge identified through reflection-in-action. Explicitly defining the needs one wishes software to meet prevents using technology for technology's sake, provides criteria to choose between similar products or evaluate a tool's success, and helps identify needs for which suitable tools do not currently exist.