Developing networks, innovation and markets - Local food


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A presentation on innovation that sought to examine, in particular, the purpose and triggers of social innovation, as well as the roles of social context, networks, and trust in innovation.

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Developing networks, innovation and markets - Local food

  1. 1. Innovation: what’s that all about? James Kirwan PUREFOOD Winter School Barcelona 20th November 2012
  2. 2. Central questions1. How can we understand the relationship between innovation and paradigm change?2. What are the purpose, role, and trigger(s) of social innovation?3. How is innovation governed?4. What are the roles of social context, networks, and trust in innovation? 2
  3. 3. Session outline• What is an innovation?• Transition pathways and systems innovation• Innovation, EU agriculture and rural areas• Responsible innovation• Social innovation• Concluding thoughts 3
  4. 4. Diffusion of an innovation model• Rogers defines an innovation as "an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption". 4
  5. 5. Sustainability and innovation• Tension between innovation and institutionalisation i.e. the sustainability of the innovation• Innovation that is about sustainability• Socio-technical transition theory• Systems innovation and strategic niche management 5
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  7. 7. Transition pathways• Timing• Nature of interaction• Four ‘Transition Pathways’• Multi-level perspective provides a global framing• The ‘pathways’ are of ideal types 7
  8. 8. Paradigm change?• First order, or incremental, innovation• Second order, or radical, innovation 8
  9. 9. Systems innovation• Sociotechnical perspective• Strategic niche management (SNM)• Niche development crucial to break path- dependency and create new paths• The paradox of SNM• The MLP model has heuristic value, but in practice niche-regime distinctions are rarely so clear-cut, with blurred boundaries 9
  10. 10. Challenges for EU agriculture andrural areas 10
  11. 11. Challenges for EU agriculture andrural areas 11
  12. 12. Implications for rural activities and resources• EU agriculture must become much more resource-efficient• The multifunctionality of rural spaces must be maintained and increased• Ecosystem services need more attention and long-term planning
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  14. 14. Sustainable intensification“Achieving higher yields from the sameacreage without severely impacting theenvironment requires a new way ofapproaching food production - sustainableintensification.” (Godfray et al 2010, p. 2776) 14
  15. 15. Sustainable intensification•Solutions from science and technology: –Crop improvement –Crop protection –Sustainable livestock farming –Mechanisation and engineering –Nanotechnologies 15
  16. 16. How best to promote innovation?Fostering and promoting a climate in which innovationis encouraged:• Stronger research-practice linkages• Communities of learning: advice, training and information (awareness-raising)• Boundaries, boundary objects and boundary brokers• ‘Effective reformism’ (Klerkx, 2010)• New networking and collaborative action
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  22. 22. Responsible Innovation• Uncertainty is a defining feature of innovation• Unintended/unforeseen impacts and consequences• Need for reflection on the purpose and motivations of science and innovation• ‘Innovation’ as a non-linear, collective process that translates ideas into value 22
  23. 23. Responsible Innovation• Uncertainty and ignorance: e.g. geo-engineering• How should we proceed? Should we proceed at all? How is this decision reached?• Get the science right first and think through the implications later?• A ‘responsibility gap’. 23
  24. 24. Responsible Innovation• Responsible innovation defined as ‘taking care of the future through collective stewardship of science and innovation in the present’.• Responsible innovation needs to be: – Anticipatory – Reflective – Inclusive – Responsive 24
  25. 25. Responsible Innovation• Stilgoe, J., Owen, R., Macnaghten, P., (2012) An Outline Framework for Responsible Innovation: Taking care of the future through collective stewardship of science and innovation in the present. A nine-month study supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). . 25
  26. 26. Social Innovation - Context• Evaluation of the Big Lottery funded Local Food programme.• Giving voice to local food networks (LFNs).• Moving beyond technocratic responses.• Encompassing the social contribution of LFNs.• Developing community capacity through grassroots social innovations. 26
  27. 27. Local Food programme• £60 million programme.• Launched in 2007.• Distributes funds to more than 500 food related projects, ranging from small grants of £2000 up to £500,000 (‘Beacon’ projects).• Aim: to make locally grown food accessible and affordable to local communities.• Ongoing evaluation from November 2009-March 2014. 27
  28. 28. Social Innovation• Historically can be traced back to Max Weber.• Socio-technical regimes.• Distinctiveness of ‘social’ innovations. – ‘Innovation does not occur in the medium of technical artefact but at the level of social practice’. – Interaction is at the centre of any social innovation.• Social innovations are effectively ‘acts of change’. 28
  29. 29. Social Innovation• “Social innovation can be defined as mould-breaking ways of confronting unmet social need by creating new and sustainable capabilities, assets or opportunities for change” (Adams and Hess, 2008, page 3).• A focus on asset building rather than needs.• The community viewed as a social agent.• Governance shift from centralised action to local action. 29
  30. 30. Grassroots Social Innovation• Innovations associated with economic innovations and, in particular, technical efficiency.• “Networks of activists and organisations generating novel bottom-up solutions” Seyfang and Smith (2007, p. 585).• Two key goals: – To satisfy the needs of those people or communities who may in some way be disadvantaged (intrinsic benefits/simple niche). – An ideological commitment to develop alternatives to the mainstream hegemonic regime (diffusion ben./strategic niche) .• Developing the capacities of communities to respond to locally identified problems. 30
  31. 31. The five dimensions of social innovation (adapted from Moulaert et al. (2005) and Adams and Hess (2008) 2. Changes to social1. The satisfaction of relations through 3. Increasing socio- human needs process political capability and access to resources Grassroots social innovations as a means of developing community capacity4. Asset building at 5. The community as an individual and a social agent community level 31
  32. 32. Discussion of social innovation• Conceptualising LFNs as grassroots social innovations extends understanding of their wider impacts.• Enabled a reinterpretation of what is meant by the terms ‘accessible’ and ‘affordable’.• Extended discussion beyond material benefits to incorporate social needs.• Food as the pretext and vector for developing community capacity. 32
  33. 33. Discussion of social innovationSocial innovations as “new forms of civic involvement,participation and democratisation... contributing to anempowerment of disadvantaged groups and leading tobetter citizen involvement which may, in turn, lead to a satisfaction of hitherto unsatisfied human needs”. Neumeier (2011, p. 53) 33
  34. 34. Concluding thoughts• Social and technological innovations.• To transform things for the better. E.g. – To transform farm-level knowledge and practices – To develop new businesses based upon sustainable resource management – To satisfy ‘unsatisfied human needs’• New ways of working and developing policy• New institutional arrangements 34