Trust is often seen as an important element in settings of knowledge sharing and the co-creation of knowledge for dealing with transformations in water governance. However, seemingly similar conversations during a co-creation workshop in Uppsala resulted in both trust and distrust, and thereby influenced consequent possibilities for the co-creation of knowledge. Therefore, this article focuses on how trust influences knowledge sharing and how knowledge sharing influences trust. We use a case study approach to analyze the Uppsala co-creation workshop—part of the Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance (CADWAGO) project—by comparing 25 conversations, making use of theories on swift trust and trust dynamics. We found four different conversation patterns (1) sending; (2) defending; (3) misunderstanding; and (4) connecting. The first three patterns influenced trust negatively and did not lead to knowledge sharing, whereas pattern four showed trust development and co-creation of knowledge. From our comparative analyses, we conclude that trust starts to emerge when there is mutual openness and empathy visible in turn-taking patterns. More specifically, trust emerges when communication styles allow for recognition and exploring underlying needs and wishes, resulting in a more dynamic dialogue, further trust development, and connection between actors. Our list of conversation patterns is provisional but we argue that understanding how different kinds of interactions can lead to trust or distrust is crucial to understanding why and how learning takes place—insights that are essential for fostering learning and transformations in water governance.

Jasper R. de Vries, Séverine van Bommel, Chris Blackmore and Yoshiko Asano (2017) Where There Is No History: How to Create Trust and Connection in Learning for Transformation in Water Governance. Water 2017, 9(2), 130; doi: 10.3390/w9020130