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Manifesto seminar: Andrew Barnett


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Dr Andrew Barnett, Director, Policy Practice Ltd gave a seminar in the Innovation, Sustainability, Development: A New Manifesto series. His seminar was entitled 'Innovation - re-labelling research or a shift in paradigm: the current debate in agricultural research for development'. Find out more at:

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Manifesto seminar: Andrew Barnett

  1. 1. “Innovation”: re-labelling research or a shift in paradigm: the current debate in agricultural research for development? A Talk to the STEPS programme Andrew Barnett, The Policy Practice Limited January 16th 2009 1
  2. 2. Links between RIU and STEPS • STEPS: “how to make science and technology work to reduce poverty and increase social justice” • RIU: Why is research-based knowledge not used (sufficiently) in development to reduce poverty? • We now all know what the innovations systems approach is. Why is it so difficult to do it: “walking the talk” 2
  3. 3. Renewed interest in “innovation” • Old hat a SPRU (DTI web site, OECD) but not in developing countries • World Bank, IFPRI, Uppsala • DFID Research Strategy • Driven by search for “impact” • Widely misunderstood or hotly contested • Why is this? Explore in light of DFID’s Research into use programme 3
  4. 4. The Sussex Manifesto • Geoff Oldham set what it did well and what it did less well. • Does it contain the seeds of innovation system thinking? Possibly : Demand and infrastructure. But no mention of innovation. • Now clearer about limits to what governments can do: innovation mostly outside the government sector (private sector, households, farms and firms, NGO?) • Problems of exclusive “meta” language? 4
  5. 5. Innovation Systems Paradigm • Beautifully summarised by Arnold and Bell • Above all a “system” • An approach, and attitude of mind rather than a cookery book. • Importance of political economy – power, trust and incentives and the need to change the rules of the game – “institutional change” and “organisational change” 5
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  7. 7. The Arnold and Bell National System of Innovation Diagram Framework Conditions Demand Education Business Intermediary & research functions system system Infrastructure 7
  8. 8. Why cant people get it? • Incentive to over-complicate and re-label well known ideas rather than build on them • Difficulties of dealing with systems • Can complex ideas be conveyed simply • Is it a matter of saying more simply? - Simple but not simplistic • The search for a simple manual neglects the tacit knowledge of experience. • Walking the talk 8
  9. 9. The Research into Use Programme • DFID Concern: limited evidence of impact so far from DFID research in Renewable Natural Resources (RNRRS) • Response the £37.5m Research into use (RIU) programme • Explicitly implementing an innovation systems approach. 9
  10. 10. RIU’s Task • To find ways of increasing the “demand” for (and use of) scientific and technological knowledge to create wealth and reduce poverty • To determine what works in what conditions • To learn from the experience and tell others about it 10
  11. 11. The key elements Of RIU • Test interventions in Country Programmes – Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Tanzania, Nigeria and possibly two others • Test Knowledge Market innovation • Increasing access to research-based knowledge thru call for proposals in Asia • Test a Venture Capital approach • Monitoring Impact and Learning • Policy Dialogues and communications 11
  12. 12. My involvement • Assist in the design of a programme in Rwanda • Chair a “innovation resource group” of people with experience of the theory or practice of innovation – Provide a group of pre-qualified advisors with a diversity of skills and experience on which the programme and it partners can draw. – Provide a simpler and simpler explanation of the innovation system approach: • 100 pages, 20 pages, 5 pages and now the search for a Haiku 12
  13. 13. Towards a Haiku • The importance of both the supply push and the demand pull of users of new knowledge • Importance of intermediary functions • The framework conditions and infrastructure are critical determinants of the nature, form and extent of innovation • Innovation requires both tacit and codified knowledge • Importance to successful innovation of networks that provide effective channels for two way communication, resources and knowledge 13
  14. 14. Key Interventions • Undertake a diagnosis of the system and the power relations between the elements • Facilitate an interaction between a diverse range of actors: build trust, develop the value chains, build the infrastructure • Strengthen the “demand side” of the system (poverty is part of the cause) • Strengthen organisations and individuals who perform “intermediary functions” • Increase the incentives and reduce the disincentives that motivate people and organisations which do or should play a role in innovation • Experiment and invest in learning from this experience 14
  15. 15. The Programme in Rwanda • Driven by a “system diagnosis” • Build on existing policies & organisations • New “institutions” not new “organisations” • An open Innovation Network and an “Innovation Coalition” jointly administering a RIU competitive fund • “Innovation Platforms” • Three mechanisms supporting innovation • A knowledge market • An innovation facility • An intelligence gathering facility 15
  16. 16. Innovation Platforms • “A network of partners, working on a common theme and using research knowledge in ways it has not been used before to generate goods/services for the benefit of the poor”. – “A MECHANISM” – “A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE” – – “MINI COALITION” – Not “single innovations”: But communities capable of innovating. • Each platform may have activities in more than one geographical area 16
  17. 17. Knowledge market experiment • Expand MPAIS in Uganda (Joffe/Kisauzi) • Support Nat. Agric Innovation Network • Private sector service provider to facilitate “many to many” electronic market making mechanism • Jump start supply response; intelligence gathering • Energise by electronic vouchers to “users” • Codified and tacit knowledge 17
  18. 18. Innovation facility • A mechanism to buy down the risks of doing new things – Partial risk guarantees (debt and equity?) – Facility to buy the best technical knowledge for promoter and investor • Work with financial institutions – Banques Populaire in association with Rabo Bank • Can it be made financially sustainable – the issues of re-flows 18
  19. 19. 1. “innovative 5. BDS 7. Debt project” Sci and finance Tech or equity advice 6. Effective 9. Financial 3. RIU business reflow as 2. Innovation Facility plan equity stake “Associated Service Provier or fees financial Finds, manages and institutions” pays for the best such as : 8. “comfort” scientific , technical Banques and or business advice to Populaire partial risk Project FINA guarantee to Grofin and the investor others 10. Facilitation 4. RIU fee for Innovation providing revolving deal flow?? fund
  20. 20. Intelligence gathering facility • Agricultural Research institutions destroyed • Economies face overwhelming quantity and quality of research-based knowledge • How to access it? Internet?Informediaries? • Evolution of the traditional research facility? • Dedicated demand side facility – informed buyer linked to knowledge market and ISAR 20
  21. 21. Does it work? • How would one know? • 1/3 of RIU on M and E • Attribution in complex systems • Returns to research: the macro and micro • Rwanda programme high risk • But does provide a framework for asking sensible questions – evolve interventions in the light of experience 21
  22. 22. Why is ISA so hotly resisted • Implies a change in balance of power – Central to Freeman and Arnold and Bell? • “Not invented here” • Based on OECD industrial sector? Vs summary of what worked best practice • Simplistic dichotomies and antagonistic advocacy? • Implications of complex systems and the search for attributable impact. 22
  23. 23. Thank you! • Much more information on the web site • • • Arnold, Erik and Martin Bell, Some new ideas about research for development, in Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Partnership at the Leading Edge: a Danish Vision for Knowledge, Research and Development, April 2001, p. 288. Download from 4920-929C-D7AA978FEEB7/0/CMI_New_Ideas_R_for_D.pdf. 23