Guidelines for Innovation Platforms in Agricultural Research for Development : Decision support for research, development and funding agencies on how to design, budget and implement impactful Innovation Platforms

Schut, M.; Andersson, J.A.; Dror, I.; Kamanda, J.; Sartas, M.; Mur, R.; Kassam, S.; Brouwer, J.H.; Stoian, D.; Devaux, A.; Velasco, C.; Gramzow, A.; Dubois, T.; Flor, R.J.; Gummert, M.; Buizer, Djuna; McDougall, C.; Davis, K.; Homann-Kee Tui, S.; Lundy, M.


Innovation Platforms are fast becoming part of the mantra of agricultural research for development projects and programmes. Their basic tenet is that stakeholders depend on one another to achieve agricultural development outcomes, and hence need a space where they can learn, negotiate, and coordinate to overcome challenges and capture opportunities through a facilitated innovation process. This important publication provides a critical analysis of Innovation Platforms, their defining features, key functions, and what they can and – as importantly – cannot do.

It will be invaluable reading both for those who fund development projects and
programmes and would like to understand when Innovation Platforms are the approach of choice, and for those practitioners who implement and facilitate Innovation Platforms and would like to understand better their design principles and practical implementation issues.

Because Innovation Platforms have been successful in addressing agricultural challenges, there is a risk that they will be promoted as a panacea for all problems in the agricultural sector. As the authors make clear, however, not all constraints will require Innovation Platforms and, if there is a simpler and cheaper alternative, that should be the first choice. It is essential to think more critically about when, how, and in what form Innovation Platforms can contribute meaningfully to Agricultural development impacts.

The document was developed through a learning collaboration between CGIAR
research centres and other academic and more applied research centres. Eleven
of the 15 CGIAR centres participated and contributed their expertise and experiences across multiple agricultural systems, geographies, and types of complex constraint. The booklet provides information grounded in a rich practical experience of key design and implementation principles, and the financial and human resources that need to be made available, and it makes suggestions for more effective monitoring, evaluation, and learning. It also lists reference materials, answers frequently asked questions, and provides a decision support tool for research, development, and funding agencies.

All in all, this publication offers a lot for those who aspire to make sensible use of
Innovation Platforms in pursuing agricultural development!