This part introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters. The part aims to emphasize the importance of paying serious attention to understanding a context before diving into an adaptive collaborative management (ACM)-like process. It discusses the value of ethnographic approaches for gaining such understanding. The part presents a focus on a more personal writing style, documenting the experience of the authors over the past three to four decades with the different iterations and manifestations of action research, participatory action research and adaptive collaborative management. It describes the imprecise differentiation among action research, participatory action research and ACM as reflecting similarities in the three approaches.