Dealing with critical challenges in African innovation platforms: lessons for facilitation

Swaans, K and Cullen, B and Van Rooyen, A F and Adekunle, A and Ngwenya, H and Lema, Z and Nederlof, S (2013) Dealing with critical challenges in African innovation platforms: lessons for facilitation. Knowledge Management for Development Journal, 09 (03). pp. 116-135. ISSN 1871-6342

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Innovation platforms are increasingly used by research and development initiatives to actively engage the poor in agricultural innovation processes. These platforms are forums for action and learning, where different types of actors come together to address issues of mutual concern. However, the dynamic nature of the innovation process, and the differences in interest, capacity and power among the actors involved, pose a challenge in the facilitation of these platforms. We believe that the key to success is very much linked to the attitude, skills and capacities of the innovation broker. This paper highlights seven key issues which in our view are critical to effective platform facilitation and have not received the attention they deserve: the dynamic and evolving nature of platforms; power dynamics; gender equity; external versus internal facilitation; sustainability of the process; issues of scale; and monitoring and evaluation. These issues and implications for facilitation of innovation platforms will be discussed based on examples from the field and in relation to current theories.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: RP-Resilient Dryland Systems
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems
Uncontrolled Keywords: Innovation platforms; Facilitation; Innovation brokers; Africa
Subjects: Others > Innovation
Others > African Agriculture
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2016 06:26
Last Modified: 22 May 2017 05:58
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The development of the ideas for this paper took place during a writeshop on innovation platforms, which was held from 27-29 May 2013 in Nairobi, funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Humid Tropics. The authors like to thank Alan Duncan from ILRI for his comments on an earlier draft.
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