ASSP / HUMIDTROPICS / ILRI / Innovation Systems / Report / Research

Facilitating innovation platforms in agricultural research

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 tenth brief explains how facilitation helps ensure that innovation platforms bring about lasting and positive change.

Facilitating innovation platforms.

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 groups of stakeholders, often with different backgrounds, who come together to address challenges and opportunities in a particular issue or area. Members represent organizations or groups that have different but complementary objectives and interests, such as farmers, traders, research, government etc.

These stakeholders do not naturally want to cooperate or share information. They may have divergent interests, or even compete with each other. Skilful facilitation is needed so they agree on common goals and activities.

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More on innovation platforms

Related ILRI materials on innovation systems

This brief is authored by Andre van Rooyen (ICRISAT), Kees Swaans (ILRI), Beth Cullen (ILRI), Zelalem Lema (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:

  1. What are innovation platforms?
  2. Innovation platforms to shape national policy
  3. Research and innovation platforms
  4. Power dynamics and representation in innovation platforms
  5. Monitoring innovation platforms
  6. Innovation platforms for agricultural value chain development
  7. Communication in innovation platforms
  8. Developing innovation capacity through innovation platforms
  9. Linking action at different levels through innovation platforms
  10. Facilitating innovation platforms
  11. Innovation platforms to support natural resource management
  12. Impact of innovation platform
  13. Scaling and innovation platforms
  14. Addressing gender dynamics in innovation platforms

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