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Workshop Trade-off Analysis - CGIAR_20 Feb 2013_Keynote Javier Ekboir

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Workshop Trade-off Analysis - CGIAR_20 Feb 2013_Keynote Javier Ekboir

  1. 1. Analysis of Trade-offs in Agricultural Systems: Achieving impact Javier Ekboir Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 1
  2. 2. Content of the presentation• Complex adaptive systems (CAS)• Human and natural CAS• Modeling CAS• Innovations as CAS• Achieving impact at scale Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 2
  3. 3. Famous phrasesThere is no likelihood that humans will ever tap the power of atom (Robert Millikan1923)The atom bomb will never go off and I speak as an expert (Admiral W. Leahy1945)I think there will be a world market for five computers (Thomas Watson 1958)The internet will never take off (Bill Gates 1988) Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 3
  4. 4. What is a CAS?A systems that cannot be understood by analyzing its separate componentsComplex is not complicatedTwo types of CAS: transportation systems and climate change Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 4
  5. 5. Dynamics of a natural CAS 5Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 5
  6. 6. How do humans change these dynamics?They have foresight and purpose (they plan)They learn (make sense) and adaptThey respond to incentives, not always for thegeneral goodThey interact (fads, externalities, herdeffects, bubbles) Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 6
  7. 7. How do humans change these dynamics?Collective action is an instrument and a restrictionfor achieving impact at scaleHuman dynamics are much faster than naturaldynamicsHuman decision-making processes change fastand involve multiple goals and influences Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 7
  8. 8. Coupled dynamics in CASInstitutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 8
  9. 9. The dynamics of CAS Interventions can have unexpected resultsThe same outcome may resultfrom different interventions Different outcomes may result from the same intervention Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 9
  10. 10. The dynamics of CASPath dependenceComplex processes cannot be predicted, but futures can be explored as possibilitiesMinimal changes in the initial conditions have great consequences Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 10
  11. 11. Modeling change in CASComplex behavior can emerge from very simple rulesIn a CAS there is no optimization but evolutionary processes (rugged landscapes, networked genes, quantum tunneling)Modeling has to deal with surprises, phase changes and reorganizationsTradeoff analysis should be complemented with coordination and diffusion Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 11
  12. 12. Innovation as a CASSuccessful innovations are long adaptive processesInnovations combine technical, business, organizational and institutional dimensionsDistribution of resources and capabilities (power laws, what are the right indicators?)Socioeconomic landscapes are changed by successful innovations Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 12
  13. 13. Operating on a CASCAS cannot be managed but can be harnessedAll strategies were developed for fast moving variables (firms)That’s why we have a better idea of how to improve value chainWe do not know how to operate on slow moving variables with fast moving instrumentsWhat is the role of science in innovation processes? Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 13
  14. 14. Achieving impactDevelop a theory of change across scales (but notany ToC)Review the theory of change often (but not toooften)How will rural areas look after the impact?How do we do adaptive management of research? Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 14
  15. 15. References on complex systemsAxelrod, R. and M.D. Cohen. 1999, Harnessing Complexity. Organizational Implications of a Scientific Frontier. NY: The Free PressCrutchfield, J.P. and P. Schuster (eds.). 2003. Evolutionary Dynamics. Exploring the Interplay of Selection, Accident, Neutrality and Function. Santa Fe Institute in the Sciences of Complexity, Oxford University Press IncGunderson, L.H. and C.S. Holling (eds.). 2002. Panarchy. Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems. Washington, D.C.: Island PressMiller, A.I. 2000. Insights of Genius. Imagery and Creativity in Science and Art. 1st edition, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press Institutional Learning & Change Initiative of the CGIAR 15

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