“By joining forces in innovation platforms, stakeholders can generate innovation by combining their indigenous knowledge, business interests and organisational skills” – Monty Jones of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa introduces a new book by the Royal Tropical Institute ‘Putting heads together: Agricultural Innovation platforms in practice.’
“This book is based on the premise that innovation is needed in order to address such challenges. Innovation, in its turn, is the result of interactions amongst different actors who have a common interest in finding solutions to address the challenges. We argue that the bottleneck in African agriculture is not solely due to a lack of technological fixes for farmers. It is also intimately related to the conditions under which those technologies are developed and used to benefit farmers; that is, the bottleneck is also of an organisational and institutional nature.”
Innovation platforms deliberately enhance interactions amongst stakeholders to change the way their organisations function and collaborate with others.
The book “is written from the perspective of practitioners for practitioners.” It draws on twelve case studies from sub-Saharan Africa; it provides new information on the performance of innovation platforms in developing countries, offers options to policy makers, and gives inspiration to all actors involved in one way or another in stimulating innovation in the agricultural sector.
It usefully zooms in on three big issues: Designing an innovation platform – where to start; brokering – who brings the people together (and how); and impact and sustainability – do they make any difference?
Innovation systems approaches and platforms are an important element in ILRI’s work:
- Read a recent ILRI brief on changing approaches to pro-poor livestock market development: Innovation and upgrading in the value chain.
- Ten lessons on multi-stakeholder networks and innovation platforms drawn from the Fodder Adoption Project in Ethiopia, Syria and Vietnam
- Recent and ongoing projects employing this approach include imGoats in India and Mozambique; several animal feed and fodder projects; and the Nile Basin Development Challenge.