Innovation platforms are widely used in agricultural research to connect different stakeholders to achieve common goals. To help document recent experiences and insights, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) recently published a series of short innovation platform ‘practice briefs’ to help guide the design and implementation of innovation platforms in agricultural research for development.
This first brief explains what innovation platforms are and how they work, and it describes some of their advantages and limitations.
An innovation platform is defined as ‘a space for learning and change. It is a group of individuals (who often represent organizations) with different backgrounds and interests: farmers, traders, food processors, researchers, government officials etc. The members come together to diagnose problems, identify opportunities and find ways to achieve their goals. They may design and implement activities as a platform, or coordinate activities by individual members.’
Innovation platforms are particularly useful in agriculture because agricultural issues tend to be complex. They involve different biophysical, socioeconomic and political factors, and concern various formal and informal institutions. By bringing together stakeholders in various sectors and from different levels, innovation platforms may be able to identify and address common concerns more effectively.
Innovation platforms can be used to explore strategies that can boost productivity, manage natural resources, improve value chains, and adapt to climate change. Some innovation platforms focus on single issues; others deal with multiple topics.
|This brief is authored by Sabine Homann-Kee Tui (ICRISAT), Adewale Adekunle (FARA), Mark Lundy (CIAT), Josephine Tucker (ODI), Eliud Birachi (CIAT), Marc Schut (Wageningen UR), Laurens Klerkx (Wageningen UR), Peter Ballantyne (ILRI), Alan Duncan (ILRI), Jo Cadilhon (ILRI) and Paul Mundy. It is a contribution to the CGIAR Humidtropics research program. The development of the briefs was led by the International Livestock Research Institute; the briefs draw on experiences of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, several CGIAR centres and partner organization.The series comprises 14 briefs: