The 2008 World Development Report recognised that development through agricultural innovation would be central to reducing poverty in the poorest countries. However, contemporary notions of innovation and innovation capacity, characterised by networks or systems to mobilise knowledge and use it in new ways, not only call into question the main policy instrument for agricultural innovation — research — but also challenge accepted ways of working across the whole agricultural development architecture, particularly arrangements associated with technology transfer. To paraphrase a large debate, often agricultural development does not need agricultural extension services to transfer “modern” technology. Rather, assistance is needed to help farmers to better embed in flexible networks that link them both to market opportunities and sources of information on practices, standards and preferences and sources in inputs, including credit, so that they can make the most of these changing opportunities. This presentation outlines some points for policymakers to consider.