Innovation Systems

Drylands cover 41 percent of the earth’s terrestrial surface. The urgency of and international response to climate change have given a new place to drylands in terms both of their vulnerability to predicted climate change impacts and their potential contribution to climate change mitigation. This book aims to apply the new scientific insights on complex dryland systems to practical options for development. A new dryland paradigm is built on the resources and capacities of dryland peoples, on new and emergent economic opportunities, on inward investment, and on the best support that dryland science can offer.

The complete document is available from the IUCN website


The Volta Basin Development Challenge (VBDC) aims “to strengthen integrated management of rainwater and small reservoirs so that they can be used equitably for multiple uses.”.

One way by which to do this is to increase crop and livestock productivity through Rainwater Management Strategies (RMS) and improve water productivity at the farm level.

Another solution is to implement Innovation Platforms (IPs) that are multi-actor systems. These platforms provide a mechanism to facilitate learning, sharing and communication amongst value chain actors, including farmers, to promote joint action and stimulate innovation. IPs also create common ground for different actors with varied interests and challenges to identify opportunities to enhance their benefits in a given value chain. Membership is based upon peoples’ interest and need to improve the value chain for their own benefit.

The IP approach involves dynamic and fluid platforms of multiple actors at various levels that support action learning and strategies for scaling up and out. Through the Volta BDC project on integrated management of rainwater (V2), the CPWF is working with the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) in Burkina Faso and Ghana to develop appropriate innovation platforms around identified crop-livestock value chains.

The complete document is available from the CPWF website

‘The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) proposed the Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) as an innovation system framework that should form the base upon which transformation of agricultural research in SSA should be considered. The IAR4D concept aims to deviate from the traditional linear configuration of ARD by encouraging the engagement of multiple actors along the commodity value chain for the promotion of the process of innovation in the agricultural system. In IAR4D, innovation evolves through continuous interaction among players, utilisation of feedback, analysis and incorporation of lessons learned between different processes. This essentially draws onthe knowledge of relevant actors at each stage. The framework creates a network that considers the technical, social, and institutional constraints in an environment that facilitates learning with the ultimate aim of generating innovation rather than mere research products or technologies. IAR4D cannot but be complex, and would certainly require fundamental changes in the wider institutional and policy environment in order for it to promote the process of innovation.’ Monty Jones Executive Director FARA

Link to the full document

Science and Innovation for Development

By Professor Sir Gordon Conway and Professor Jeff Waage, with Sara Delaney. Published by UKCDS January 2010.
ISBN: 978 1 84129 0829

‘…We hope that this book will give anyone who is interested in international development a clearer picture of the role that science and innovation can play. We firmly believe that science is only one of many factors which can contribute to development, but we want that factor to be well understood, particularly as science is often presented in a way which is not easily accessible to the non-specialist. We have used the MDGs as a framework for our exploration, because they address a wide range of development issues where science is particularly active: agriculture, health, and the environment….’ Gordon Conway, Jeff Waage and Sara Delaney

Downloadble version

Hard copies will be provided free of charge to researchers and policy-makers in developing countries (see above link).

During the CGIAR Systemwide Livestock Programme Livestock Policy Group Meeting on 1 December 2009, ILRI’s Ranjitha Puskur and Alan Duncan shared some experiences from their work on fodder innovation.

Alan focused on the IFAD-funded ‘Fodder Adoption Project’ based at ILRI, outlining the approach followed in the project – trying to strike a balance between the technological and institutional angles. View his video.

Ranjitha shared some major lessons come out of the DFID-funded Fodder Innovation Project. Similar to the Fodder Adoption Project, it looks at fodder scarcity and how to address it, but from the perspectives of capacities, policies and institutions. View her video.

See their presentation:

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