Agricultural Innovation Systems: The Strengthening of Diversity

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The theme for this presentation is the existence of and the increasing need for a diverse and expanding repertoire of ways of organising innovation in order to cope with the complex and fast-changing …

The theme for this presentation is the existence of and the increasing need for a diverse and expanding repertoire of ways of organising innovation in order to cope with the complex and fast-changing agricultural scenario. Accordingly, the challenge is not just to recognise this, but also how to enable the creation of this innovation diversity and how to reposition agricultural research within this rapidly changing landscape.

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  • 1. Agricultural Innovation Systems: The Strengthening of Diversity Andy Hall LINK-United Nations University-MERIT Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 2. The Quest for Innovation Diversity
    • The theme of this presentation is the existence of and the increasing need for a diverse and expanding repertoire of ways of organising innovation in order to cope with the complex and fast-changing agricultural scenario
    • The challenge is not just to recognise this, but also how to enable the creation of this innovation diversity and how to reposition agricultural research within this rapidly changing landscape
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 3. The Emerging Face of Agriculture: Convergence and Change
    • Animal and human health
    • Agriculture and energy
    • Genomics, bio-infomatics, medical and functional foods
    • Non-farm agriculture-based rural employment
    • Sustainable food security
    • Pro-poor global value chain
    • Agriculture and climate change
    • Unexpected global crisis
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 4. The Emerging Face of Agriculture: Convergence and Change
    • Drivers
      • Rapidly advancing knowledge frontier
      • The new role of the private sector in research and the growing importance of design and other practice-based knowledge
      • The interconnections of scales through markets, information technology and the environment
      • Expanding social and economic agendas surrounding agriculture
    • Implications
      • Rate of change has increased significantly
      • Multiple sources of knowledge now have economic importance — a new knowledge landscape
      • North-South Developing-Developed distinctions are less relevant
      • Knowledge-related capabilities, and particularly the ability to innovate in response to change, are central to social and economic success
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 5. What is Innovation?
    • Innovation: The process of creating and putting into use combinations of knowledge from many different sources
    • This knowledge may be brand new, but usually it is new combinations of existing knowledge
    • To be termed innovation, the use of this knowledge has to be novel to a farmer or a firm and their neighbours and competitors, but not necessarily new globally
    • Invention , on the other hand, is the creation of knowledge new to the world, usually by research organisations, but also by artisans and others
    • But how does this take place?
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 6. How does Agricultural Innovation Takes Place? Two Views
    • Pipeline
      • Research develops new ideas and technologies that are passed onto farmers and entrepreneurs for use
      • This is best organised through public research and extension services
      • Standardised approach applied in different contexts
    • Innovation system
      • New ideas emerge at the interface of research and entrepreneurial activity with complex feedback loops
      • This is best organised by fostering loose task and context-specific dependant networks of researchers, farmers, entrepreneurs and other knowledge users
      • Multiple and changing configurations depending on context and task
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 7. FOOD INDUSTRIES Advanced materials for ponds & enclosures Complex design knowledge Monitoring through computer imaging & pattern recognition techniques Pharmaceutical, nutritional inputs for health & feeding systems Biotechnology for environmental sustainability Bacteriology, microbiology, new freezing technologies, for storage & packaging FISH FARMING
  • 8. Map, Model, Structure, Metaphor?
      • Some examples from recent work with the World Bank and others point to the diversity of configurations of the networks that underpin innovation systems
      • Innovation systems is not a blueprint for a new way of organising innovation, but rather a metaphor for the diversity of context-specific and path-dependent approaches that can and need to exist
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 9. Case Studies
    • Cassava Processing Innovation System
      • Research-led development and promotion of new cassava products with private sector coalition (Ghana)
    • Cut Flower Innovation System
      • Continuous innovation in response to changing markets, licensing foreign technology, coordinated by an industry association (Colombia)
    • Medicinal Plants Innovation System
      • Mobilising traditional and scientific knowledge for rural communities, coordinated by a foundation (India)
    • Small-scale Irrigation Innovation System
      • Civil society organisation promoted low cost pumps to create markets; small-scale manufacturers then innovated with pump designs in response to local needs (Bangladesh)
    • Golden Rice Innovation System
      • Complex partnership of multinationals, agricultural research organisations, universities and development foundations. Complex but creative institutional arrangements over ownership and used to target the poor (Global)
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 10. Dimensions of Diversity
    • The different types of organisations involved and the roles they play
    • The roles of different types of knowledge in the innovation process
    • The policies, rules, habits and practices that govern interaction and knowledge-related activities
    • The nature of governance arrangements
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 11. What Leads to Diversity
    • Styles – Historical, socio-political setting of national/ sectoral systems of innovation
    • Scale – Local, national, regional, international issues
    • Thematic focus – Research intensity, knowledge mix, balance of public-private goods, level of private sector development/ interest, transfer-of-existing-technology
    • Drivers – Research-driven, responding to markets, standards and regulation, policy, new technology and ethical and sustainability issues
    • Almost unlimited permutations!
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 12. The Range of Diversity
    • Public-led national and international public goods
    • Global and regional consortia for public and private goods
      • Mission-based; exploitation of existing and new science
    • Local innovation
      • Participatory plant breeding, natural resource management
    • Innovation around national and global value chains.
      • Coping with changing standards and consumer demands while linking poor producers to markets
    • North-South and South-South win-wins
      • Climate change, transboundary diseases, food safety in the value chain
    • North-South and South-South bottom-of-the-pyramid innovation
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 13. Only public sector R&D led innovation Strong nodes, well linked around market and social welfare themes in national arena Only private/ NGO led innovation Strong nodes, well linked around market and social welfare themes in regional and global arena LINKS N O D E S INSTITUTIONS & POLICIES Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 14. Should we still give so much emphasis to R&D?
    • Why invest in research?
      • Generate knowledge at the frontier – existing knowledge not available
      • Adapt existing knowledge to new tasks and local contexts
      • Absorptive reasons: Participation in international knowledge networks, processing and in assimilating knowledge
    • How does this fit with the modern, globalised knowledge economy?
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 15. Towards a New Mental Model
    • 19/20th century industrial revolution growth model with innovation driven by the transition from craft to science-based innovation at the knowledge frontier
      • Mental model: R&D as a % of GDP policy and large-scale investments in scientific capacity; infrastructure and human resources
    • Late 20th/early 21st century innovation revolution growth model with innovation driven by the ability to mobilise knowledge for productive purposes
      • Mental model: Leapfrogging; using the global knowledge pool; scientific capacity for absorptive and adaptive purposes. More complex and adaptive knowledge architecture. Emphasis on learning-based capacity development and building networks
    Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  • 16. LINK is a specialist network of regional innovation policy studies hubs established by the United Nations University-MERIT (UNU-MERIT) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to strengthen the interface between rural innovation studies, policy and practice and to promote North-South and South-South learning on rural innovation. Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation