Using Agricultural Research to Build Capacity to Innovate

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The Road Less Traveled: Using Agricultural Research to Build Capacity to Innovate:

The Road Less Traveled: Using Agricultural Research to Build Capacity to Innovate Boru Douthwaite Food for Thought Seminar 10 December, 2015

Mental Models Matter:

Mental Models Matter

Research that can change mental models can have profound impact:

Research that can change mental models can have profound impact Based on Voros (2005), reproduced from http://courses.umass.edu/plnts285/TheIcebergModel.htm

Slide4:

The Road Less Traveled: Using Agricultural Research to Build Capacity to Innovate Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference Robert Frost Road = impact pathway

Slide5:

An aquatic agricultural system Near Barisal, Bangladesh A favourable production environment Near Bangkok, Thailand The impact pathway more traveled The impact pathway less traveled

Why AAS took the road less traveled:

Why AAS took the road less traveled 500 million people in Africa, Asia and the Pacific depend on aquatic agricultural systems The systems are productive (so change is possible) 137 million live in poverty Live in coastal zones, along river floodplains and other wetlands Vulnerable to increasing population pressure, natural resource degradation, sea-level rise, increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events Béné and Teoh , 2014

Mapping the roads:

Research Impact Catalyzes and contributes to processes of innovation Mapping the roads The impact pathways get us from research to impact

The mapping understands innovation as an evolutionary-like process based on learning (Nelson & Winter, 1983; Mokyr, 1990; Axelrod & Cohen, 2000):

The mapping understands innovation as an evolutionary-like process based on learning ( Nelson & Winter, 1983; Mokyr , 1990; Axelrod & Cohen, 2000) Douthwaite, 2002

Three ‘evolutionary’ levers for influencing rate and quality of innovation (Axelrod & Cohen, 2000):

Three ‘evolutionary’ levers for influencing rate and quality of innovation (Axelrod & Cohen, 2000) Macro and micro invention (introducing novelty ) Changing interaction patterns between people, technology and strategies Changing how selection decisions are made

Impact pathway most traveled (from an innovation systems perspective):

Impact pathway most traveled (from an innovation systems perspective) Emphasis on lever 1 Research invents novelty that Catalyzes new innovation trajectories E.g. Semi-dwarf rice varieties; GIFT Tilapia; Boeing 737 Maintains and expands the benefit from exiting ones E.g. Turning tilapia male; maintenance breeding Easy to see; easy to measure; attributable

The impact pathway less traveled:

The impact pathway less traveled Emphasis on levers 2 & 3 Research process changes interaction patterns and ways selection decisions are made Usually best done as part of developing novelty

Impact pathway less traveled: Network weaving:

Impact pathway less traveled: Network weaving Harder to see; harder to measure; can only show contribution

AAS Scaling Pathways:

AAS Scaling Pathways Scaling Pathway 1 = road more traveled Scaling Pathway 2 = road less traveled

The Research in Development (RinD) Approach:

The Research in Development (RinD) Approach AAS’ vehicle for exploring the impact pathway less traveled Research questions: Whether, how, what aspects, to what extent and for whom does RinD work? How do RinD outcomes differ from those produced by other approahces ?

Research methods and early results:

Research methods and early results Research methodology Douthwaite, B., Mayne , J., McDougall, C., ( submitted). Evaluating Complex Interventions: A Theory-Driven Realist-Informed Approach . Evaluation Paz- Ybarnegaray , R., Douthwaite, B., (submitted). Outcome evidencing: a method for enabling and evaluating program interventions in complex systems . American Journal of Evaluation Research results Apgar , M., Douthwaite, B., Allen, W., Paz- Ybarnegaray , R., (submitted). Getting beneath the surface in program planning, monitoring and evaluation: Learning from use of participatory action research and theory of change in the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems . Action Research Journal Special Issue: Development, Aid and Social Transformation . Apgar, M., Ekong , J., Sarapura,S ., Douthwaite, B., 2015. Strengthening capacities for research in development in aquatic agricultural systems. Penang, Malaysia: CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems. Working Paper: AAS-2015-14 Douthwaite , B., Lando , L. A., Perez, M., Muyaule , C., Longley, C., Kabir , K., Karim , M., ( submitted) How Agricultural Research Enables Innovation: The Case of AAS . Agricultural Systems . Douthwaite B, Apgar M, Schwarz A, McDougall C, Attwood S, Senaratna Sellamuttu S and Clayton T. 2015.  Research in development: Lessons from the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems . Penang, Malaysia: CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems. Working Paper: AAS-2015-16

Slide16:

PAR generates, acts on and periodically revisits collectively agreed: _ Community visions of success and action plans _ Initiative ToC and action plans _ Program ToC and strategic framework Safe spaces for experimentation, action, reflection, questioning and learning 1 Key stakeholders maintain their participation Engagement process motivates participation of poor and marginalized Facilitation of sufficient quality for long enough RinD implemented according to core principles and key elements 1 2     Outcomes Assumptions The road RinD is taking us on (aka RinD theory of change)

Slide17:

PAR generates, acts on and periodically revisits collectively agreed: _ Community visions of success and action plans _ Initiative ToC and action plans _ Program ToC and strategic framework Safe spaces for experimentation, action, reflection, questioning and learning Changes in norms and socially assigned roles Research output (technology) Increases in understanding about how change happens and how to trigger it Increases in social capital and collective efficacy 1 2 3 4 5 Key stakeholders maintain their participation Engagement process motivates participation of poor and marginalized Facilitation of sufficient quality for long enough RinD implemented according to core principles and key elements Research of sufficient quality to generate useful outputs Issues of power, exclusion and gender explicitly addressed 1 2 3 4     Outcomes Assumptions

Slide18:

PAR generates, acts on and periodically revisits collectively agreed: _ Community visions of success and action plans _ Initiative ToC and action plans _ Program ToC and strategic framework Safe spaces for experimentation, action, reflection, questioning and learning Changes in norms and socially assigned roles Research output (technology) Increases in understanding about how change happens and how to trigger it Increases in social capital and collective efficacy Greater control of assets and decision-making by women, poor and vulnerable Increase in system capacity to innovate, equitably 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Key stakeholders maintain their participation Engagement process motivates participation of poor and marginalized Facilitation of sufficient quality for long enough RinD implemented according to core principles and key elements Research of sufficient quality to generate useful outputs Issues of power, exclusion and gender explicitly addressed 1 2 3 4     Outcomes Assumptions

Slide19:

PAR generates, acts on and periodically revisits collectively agreed: _ Community visions of success and action plans _ Initiative ToC and action plans _ Program ToC and strategic framework Safe spaces for experimentation, action, reflection, questioning and learning Changes in norms and socially assigned roles Research output (technology) Increases in understanding about how change happens and how to trigger it Increases in social capital and collective efficacy Greater control of assets and decision-making by women, poor and vulnerable Increase in system capacity to innovate, equitably Improved and more sustainable livelihoods for poor and marginalized More, faster and more equitable innovation processes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Key stakeholders maintain their participation Engagement process motivates participation of poor and marginalized Facilitation of sufficient quality for long enough RinD implemented according to core principles and key elements Research of sufficient quality to generate useful outputs Issues of power, exclusion and gender explicitly addressed Positive experience from using RinD approach leads to greater use Program funding for long enough to achieve impact 1 2 3 4 5 6     Outcomes Assumptions

What’s the evidence?:

What’s the evidence? Four purposively sampled ‘best cases’ (Douthwaite et al. 2015) Improving homestead ponds in the South Bangladesh Polder Zone Abaca rehabilitation in the Philippines Improving post-harvest handling of fish in the Barotse Floodplain Using the RinD approach to make community-based fisheries management more responsive to community needs in the Solomon Islands

Homestead ponds in Bangladesh:

Homestead ponds in Bangladesh Small, shaded and used for multiple purposes, e.g. washing, aquaculture, irrigation Multiple use makes improving them harder Largely ignored by mainstream research and extension Ponds are important: Pond area makes up on average one-third of the homestead land in productive use ( Kabir et al. 2014)

Study groups established :

Study groups established Village District CRPs/Projects Region Nagorkanda Faridpur CSISA Fresh water (0 ppt salinity) Babugonj Barisal CSISA Monirampur Jessore CSISA Rajapur Jhalokhathi CCAFS Amtoli Barguna AIN and CPWF G2 Brackish water   Batiaghata Khulna AAS and CPWF G2 Kaligonj Satkhira AAS and CPWF G2 Shyamnagar Satkhira CCAFS Research question: How to improve aquaculture productivity while maintaining other uses? 8 study groups in 8 villages made up of 12 members each (all women)

Treatments:

Treatments Three treatments for freshwater, three treatments for brackish Each treatment a different stocking level of at least three species chosen to meet different criteria, e.g., fast growing, high value, regular harvesting Four replications in each village

PAR model:

PAR model

Pathway 1 Results (direct, attributable):

Pathway 1 Results (direct, attributable) Production during baseline (2012-13) and after the trial (2013-14). Neighbors adopted stocking strategies

Pathway 2 results (indirect, less visible, fuzzier):

Pathway 2 results (indirect, less visible, fuzzier) For the women Wanting to, and starting to, answer their own questions Some in leadership positions, championing the technology and approach Some better able to access inputs required Better linked to others; better able to access information For the researchers Listing more to farmers to identify research issues. Before relied on the literature and their own direct observation Appreciation of benefits and difficulties of using PAR For both Innovation grant from Blue Gold Program to take work forward in 2 villages

Slide27:

Aspects of system capacity to innovate, equitably Changes as a result of RinD described in the four cases Increase in the stock of novelty in respective hub innovation systems Development of technical and institutional innovations in each hub: Use of hybrid tissue cultured abaca seedlings with eradication of host plants to ensure disease free abaca plantations Abaca coalition, facilitated by an ‘honest broker’ where partners use their own money rather than a central pot to work together Improvements to process of salting fish Fish value chain innovation platform Polyculture stocking strategies for shaded ponds Motivation to innovate Farmers, researchers and key organizations motivated to work together through agreeing shared visions and plans to achieve them Motivation maintained through regular revisiting of action plans and progress made Actors able to identify and prioritize problems and opportunities in dynamic systems environments RinD team able to use participatory methods to facilitate hub actors to identify and prioritize problems and opportunities, e.g. in stakeholder consultation workshops. PAR groups increasingly being able to identify their own research questions, e.g. abaca farmers; farmer-researchers working on shaded-ponds; salted fish PAR group Actors able to take risks, experiment and assess trade-offs Farmers experimenting supported by researchers, better able to assess the trade-offs relating to their trials; Researchers experimenting with different approaches to engagement in the research process and reflecting on how they work (e.g. the Philippines) Findings from across all four cases (from Douthwaite et al. 2015)

Slide28:

Aspects of system capacity to innovate, equitably Changes as a result of RinD described in the three cases Actors able to mobilize resources and form effective support coalitions around promising options and visions for the future RinD teams able to set up coalitions and innovation platforms (e.g. fish value chain innovation platform, Abaca Coalition); able to play honest broker role necessary to make it work Coalition and platform members using their own resources to further the work (e.g. Abaca Coalition) Actors able to link to each other in order to share and process relevant information and knowledge in support of above PAR groups linking farmers, fishers, researchers and other key stakeholders (e.g. abaca; shaded-ponds; salted-fish) Coalitions and platforms bringing member organizations together in support of network of farmers and researchers (e.g. Abaca coalition; fish innovation platform) Actors able to understand how change comes about in complex systems and intervene effectively RinD team members more aware of importance of facilitation, champions and brokering linkages to build capacity for community- and hub level actors to help themselves Hub actors develop theories of change describing how they expect their work to bring about change and revisit these assumptions regularly Greater control over assets and decision-making by women and the poor and vulnerable Female farmer-researchers working on shaded ponds with greater access to family land and taking up leadership roles Early results (2)

What about scaling?:

What about scaling? (Needed to justify CGIAR involvement) Direct results (technology developed and adopted) Hard to get to expected numbers Starts in the 100s; gets modified away Indirect results Where the potential lies

Evidence of pathway 2 impact from elsewhere? :

Evidence of pathway 2 impact from elsewhere? Farmer-led agricultural research for development (FL-ARD) AAS commissioned a study by Prolinnova / ETC Foundation – an NGO network promoting indigenous innovation Identified 100 examples chose 11 Research process participatory and farmer-led Availability of some documentation of impact Going for at least five years

The cases:

The cases Zaï pits in Burkina Faso Campesino a Campesino in Central America MASIPAG in the Philippines: farmer scientist partnership Farmer-experimenters in Honduras Farmer participatory research in Tanzania Smallholder action research by Diobass in Burkina Faso Participatory innovation development (PID) in Mali CIALs in Honduras: local agricultural research committees Kuturaya : the participatory extension approach in Zimbabwe Participatory Technology Development (PTD) in Vietnam Institutionalisation of farmer participatory research in Ethiopia

Some of the impacts:

Some of the impacts Campasino a campasino “Hundreds of thousand” small holders improved degraded land in Honduras. Impact from ability to innovate and adapt rather than a particular technology; politically influential Zai Pits 300,000ha of degraded land rehabilitated in Burkino Faso In Niger from 13 farmers in 1989 to 10,000 households in 1993; spread to other districts

Slide33:

Attributes Farmer -led Conventional Start up Slow, small Fast, big Focus Local priority Outsider determined priority Institutional arrangement A movement, whatever it takes Project Funding Low but consistent; donor trusts the process to produce outcomes High; donor wants to see ‘accountability’ for results Life-span Av. 18 years 3 yr project cycle, rarely more than 3 phases Type of impact Multi-faceted, changing From adoption of research output Impact evaluation Methodologically challenging; mixed method Counterfactual; internal rate of return Driving force Commitment to vision, passion, principles Money, standardized procedures Comparing farmer-led and conventional approaches to R4D

The road less traveled takes you on a different journey to a different place :

The road less traveled takes you on a different journey to a different place Propositions to be tested in a research agenda: Using agricultural research to explicitly build system capacity to innovate leads to a deeper and more sustainable impact Impact comes through both pathways; pathway 1 provides entry point Most impact comes primarily through pathway 2’s secondary effects (social capital, motivation, capacity development) How secondary effects play out can’t be predicted in detail It takes longer, requires less funding, more nuance, (much) more facilitation Impact is deeper, narrower and ultimately self-reinforcing Co-opting or scaling such approaches (e.g. making it a subject of a large program) can kill them off

Favorable production environment:

Favorable production environment Should the CGIAR carry out this sort of research? Yes, if serious about reaching the marginalized Yes, because can increase impact of all agricultural research for development (never just pathway 1 or pathway 2) Can be done as part of M&E In some contexts might be the only viable pathway, particularly for transformative change To show the pathway exists, to show its value, not to travel the whole distance ourselves

What makes doing this research hard?:

What makes doing this research hard? Its impact pathway is indirect Research on mental models can be threatening When impact claims are high, you might not want to unpack the black boxes and surface the underlying assumptions

The future:

The future Ensure AAS learning contributes to the mapping Food for Thought on Theory of Change in January Capacity to innovate is subject of two sub-IDOs Ongoing work on ‘capacity to innovate’ and how research can leverage it Cirad twin-post doc (now with just one twin) MIT- Prolinnova project (funded by USAID) And more … There is an enabling environment Tropical Agriculture Platform (FAO) Set up in 2012 by G20 agricultural ministers Capacity Development in Agricultural Innovation Systems

Slide38:

Thanks for your attention!

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