Next Steps for Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems: A Roadmap for Investigators and Investors

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Agricultural growth will lead to poverty reduction. The innovation systems concept is a useful way of thinking about how to mobilise knowledge that suits the contemporary agricultural development situation. This requires new forms of capacity development at a systems level, but what is the road map to achieving this?

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Next Steps for Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems: A Roadmap for Investigators and Investors

  1. 1. Next Steps for Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems A Road Map for Investigators and Investors Andy Hall LINK-United Nations University - MERIT Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  2. 2. Propositions and Gaps <ul><li>Agricultural growth will lead to poverty reduction </li></ul><ul><li>The innovation systems concept is a useful way of thinking about how to mobilise knowledge that suits the contemporary agricultural development situation </li></ul><ul><li>Requires new forms of capacity development at a systems level, but what is the road map to achieving this? </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  3. 3. Why do need something different? The new context of Agricultural Development <ul><li>Multi-functionality of agricultural development </li></ul><ul><li>Interconnectedness of scales and rates of change </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge use capacities as a way of responding to change and as a new source of comparative advantage </li></ul><ul><li>New sources of knowledge, particularly the private sector </li></ul><ul><li>Rapidly advancing technological frontier presents new opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Collective intelligence, both necessary and now possible </li></ul><ul><li>Requires a diverse, expanding and evolving repertoire of ways of organising innovation to cope with an unpredictable set of challenges and opportunities </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  4. 4. What does Innovation Capacity look like? <ul><li>Policy and institutional setting </li></ul>R&D Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  5. 5. Map, Model, Structure, Metaphor? <ul><li>Innovation systems is not a blueprint for a new way of organising innovation, but a metaphor for the diversity of context-specific and path-dependent approaches that can and need to exist </li></ul><ul><li>The challenge is one of creating the policy and institutional conditions to allow the co-existence, emergence and evolution of different ways of organising innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Survival depends not on how good you are but how well you can adapt </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  6. 6. Investigators’ Road Map <ul><li>Part of the problem or part of the solution to the challenge of institutional and policy change?! </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  7. 7. The Ambition-to-Action gap <ul><li>Investigators have been exploring agricultural innovation since?? Hybrid corn studies in the 1950s </li></ul><ul><li>At a general level there is agreement on basic principles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple sources of knowledge; interaction; context-specific; power, policy and institutional settings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But not broadly reflected in the “mainstream” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So why isn’t our collective knowledge on innovation driving the institutional and policy changes needed to expand our repertoire of innovation approaches </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  8. 8. Fads, evolving approaches, or a history of false dichotomies <ul><li>Emergence of innovation systems ideas is part of a long history of debates by agricultural scientists and innovation theorists </li></ul><ul><li>Transfer of technology, farming systems, participatory/FFL, now innovation systems </li></ul><ul><li>Often presented as a series of dichotomies. In reality it was not a case of either/ or, but bits of both. Additive </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  9. 9. Source: Adapted from Hall et al 2007 Responsiveness to changing contexts Demand pull from farmers Scientists’ need to learn about farmers’ conditions and needs Supply push from research Driver Facilitated interactive innovation, learning and change Joint production of knowledge Modified packages to overcome constraints Technology packages Core element Beyond the farm gate Farm-based Input-output relationships Productivity Scope Co-generate knowledge, processes and innovation Diagnose, experiment, test, adapt Provide information for scientists Learn, adopt, conform Farmers’ roles Key actors among many others Colleagues Objects of study and sources of info Progressive adopters, laggards Farmers seen by scientists as Interact and learn for innovation Collaborate in research Learn through survey Supply through pipeline Mental model of activities NARS as part of AIS NARS as part of AKIS NARS NARIs Organisation focus Work in progress Starting in the 1990s Starting in the 1970s and ’80s From 60’s Era Interactive Learning for Change/ Innovation Systems Farmer First / Farmer Participatory Research Farming Systems Research Transfer of Technology Paradigm Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  10. 10. Brands vs. Diversity <ul><li>Innovation brands, because of their diversity, have not able to develop a coalition to argue for institutional and policy change </li></ul><ul><li>We need diversity, but branding polarises advocacy for institutional and policy change </li></ul><ul><li>Used as a diversity metaphor AIS values all relevant and useful ways of organising innovation and helps drive policy and practice dialogues needed to expand our innovation repertoire </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  11. 11. Local National Global Scale High Low Ability to cope with change Reflective/ learning evolutionary systems Linear, reductionism Defining processes High Low Use of policy incentives High Low Degree of integration of different knowledge types Many, codified and tacit, including indigenous Few/ codified Knowledge types used High Low Accountability for outcomes Poor people Market Curiosity Responsiveness to different agendas Innovation/ socio-economic change Products/service development Scientific research Organising principle/ scope of task Institutional features 1 2 3 4 5 Institutional features Innovation systems features/ domains [i ]
  12. 12. Future directions for investigators <ul><li>Intellectual challenges are operational, not about further elaboration and intellectualisation of concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Communication of concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Diagnosis </li></ul><ul><li>Design </li></ul><ul><li>Learning and evaluation </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  13. 13. Dealing with investigator road blocks <ul><li>End innovation branding battles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Once you accept the importance of diversity of innovation experiences, this experience can be harvested/ collated/ shared and help drive changes in practice, policies and institutional settings and expand repertoire of innovation approaches. (see COP) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>End evaluation battles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Central to so many aspects of the shift in perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different evaluation approaches may be relevant to different types of innovation experiences — No one-size-fits-all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need high-level agreement on expanded repertoire of evaluation approaches. A new gold standard? </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  14. 14. Investors’ Road Map <ul><li>New tricks with existing ideas </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  15. 15. Should we still give so much emphasis to R&D? <ul><li>Why invest in research? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Generate knowledge at the frontier — existing knowledge not available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adapt existing knowledge to new tasks and local contexts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Absorptive reasons: Participation in international knowledge networks/processing assimilating </li></ul></ul><ul><li>19/20th century industrial revolution growth model with innovation driven by the transition from craft to science-based innovation at the knowledge frontier </li></ul><ul><li>Mental model – R&D% of GDP policy and large-scale investments in scientific capacity – infrastructure and human resources </li></ul><ul><li>Late 20th/early 21th century innovation revolution growth model with innovation driven by the ability to mobilise knowledge for productive purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Mental model – Leapfrogging, using global knowledge pool, scientific capacity for absorptive and adaptive purposes. Emphasis on learning-based capacity development and building networks </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  16. 16. Where to intervene? <ul><li>It all depends……………….. On the innovation capacity in a specific location </li></ul><ul><li>Systems diagnosis becomes much more important than biophysical and even socio-economic priorities </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  17. 17. LINKS N O D E S INSTITUTIONS & POLICIES Strong nodes, well linked around market and social welfare themes in regional and global arena Only private/ NGO led innovation Strong nodes, well linked around market and social welfare themes in national arena Only public sector R&D led innovation Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  18. 18. Pre-planned phase Foundation phase Emergence phase Pilot phase Stagnation phase Dynamic system of innovation phase Nascent phase Initiating interventions Piloting interventions Piloting and building on success interventions Remedial, piloting and building on success interventions Building on success interventions Maintenance interventions Market and other opportunities Rapidly changing threats and opportunities Orchestrated trajectory Opportunity driven trajectory A continuously evolving sub sector delivering economic growth in socially equitable and environmentally sustainable ways
  19. 19. How do we intervene? <ul><li>It all depends…………………………… </li></ul><ul><li>Tailor-made solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Starting points to learn in locally-specific ways in order to enable innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Follow usual innovation systems principles </li></ul><ul><li>Menu of options </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  20. 20. Some Generic Options. 1 <ul><li>1. Strengthening research HR and infrastructure/ new sciences </li></ul><ul><li>- but frontier/adaptive, absorptive balance </li></ul><ul><li>- but NBNS </li></ul><ul><li>2. Building a new generation of research, development and policy professionals with a systems outlook </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Curriculum changes; graduate, post-graduate and short courses; problem-based pedagogy </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  21. 21. Some Generic Options. 2 <ul><li>3. Learning-oriented innovation capacity strengthening </li></ul><ul><li>programmes piloting different arrangements for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Financing; public-private linkage; improving access to public/ private technology; university-business collaboration; innovation platforms; sector-coordinating bodies; policy working groups; sustainable innovation; participatory and local innovation; response to drought and diseases; recovery from civil disturbance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many examples: NAIP, SSA CP, COS, RIU </li></ul></ul><ul><li>4. Mobilising global learning on innovation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A virtual innovation resources facility; a community of practice; consultative capacity benchmarking exercises/ policy dialogues; thematic reviews and working groups </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  22. 22. Some Generic Options. 3 <ul><li>5. Value chain initiatives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strengthening technical services nodes; funding international private sector to establish high value horticulture; regulatory compliance; investing in farmer and industry associations; sector ‘groupyness’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>6. North-South win-win research collaboration: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>climate change; food safety; value chain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>7. South-South/ regional research and practice consortia, particularly to share </li></ul><ul><li>8. A CGIAI? (consultative group on agricultural innovation) </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  23. 23. Don’t worry, be happy! <ul><li>Times of change are worrying times </li></ul><ul><li>But, an innovation systems perspective values everybody’s contribution rather than privileging only a limited number </li></ul><ul><li>However, it requires a change in mindset from the highest to the lowest levels </li></ul><ul><li>It may require us to question some of the sacred principles of our own paradigms and embrace diversity: e.g., evaluation approaches </li></ul><ul><li>But this may well be a historic moment for a significant change in the way knowledge is used for development </li></ul><ul><li>Gatekeepers of the “mainstream” need to carefully consider their responsibilities </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  24. 24. 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

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