New insights on rural innovation: Lessons from Civil Society

This is a collaborative project with the UNU-MERIT and the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), New Delhi. CRISP is undertaking case studies on civil society interventions in rural innovation to draw fresh insights on ways of promoting pro-poor innovation.  The study also tests the prospects of using the innovation systems analytical framework to identify these lessons and how these could be promoted.


RIPWG Reporter 2005

RIPWG Reporter 2006

RIPWG Reporter 2007

LINK Project Brief – New insights project

Livelihood patterns, impact pathways and innovation systems in the Indo-Gangetic Plains - A synthesis of existing information to enhance priority setting processes

This study was commissioned by the Rice-Wheat Consortium/CIMMYT as a CPR-CRISP collaborative work. The main objective of the study was to synthesize existing information on livelihood patterns, impact pathways, and innovation systems in the Indo-Gangetic Plains in India and to assess implications for priority setting and targeting to achieve better poverty impacts. The study was completed in January 2007.

Co-ordination of the South Asia activities of the Crop Post Harvest Programme (CPHP) of DFID-UK

CRISP coordinated the activities of the CPHP, South Asia managed by the Natural Resources International (NRI) and funded by the DFID-UK during 2004-2006. The coordination function performed by the secretariat includes:

a. Facilitating the development and implementation of a small portfolio of action learning projects exploring pro-poor post-harvest innovation

b. Strengthening lesson learning, information exchange and network development among post-harvest stakeholders in the region

c. Adding value to the programme's portfolio by synthesizing lessons from across projects and promoting principles of good practice among policy makers and practitioners

Under this activity, CRISP facilitated the evolution of the 4 coalition projects and the development of institutional histories. This include:

Project 1: Developing coalitions approach to Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) for better livelihoods of tribal communities

Project 2: Exploring sorghum utilization opportunities through a research, industry and users forum/coalition

Project 3: Integrating markets, products and partners: An action research to explore and develop a management system for linking tribal communities to markets through value addition

Project 4: Institutional Learning and Change Coalition: A capacity development approach to exploring and strengthening post-harvest innovation systems in South Asia.

Read: Institutional Histories: reflections on four Indian coalitions (pdf)

Institutional History of Watershed Research: The evolution of ICRISAT’s work on Natural Resources in India

In recent years international agricultural research centres had to respond to changed mandates with a more explicit focus on poverty reduction and environmental sustainability from an earlier focus on improved agricultural productivity. Natural resource management (NRM) research has been an important area that has witnessed several institutional changes within the CGIAR system for the fulfillments of these goals. More research centres have sought and promoted innovations through concepts such as participatory research, partnerships and alternatives to the transfer of technology approach. This research study undertaken for ICRISAT uses institutional history as a tool to promote institutional learning and change. The study traces the evolution of the watershed work at ICRISAT arguing that the present activities need to be seen as part of a large narrative of several innovations, not all of them successful, by scientists over a thirty year period. It demonstrates that research managers in the CG system have not adequately accessed the institutional innovations of its own scientists in facilitating changes under newer mandates. By tracing the various ups and downs of ICRISAT’s thirty-year involvement in NRM research, the study points to the need for greater sensitivity in research design towards institutional constraints that prevent faster learning and the need for evolving mechanisms to enable real time learning in projects.

Institutional Learning and Change (ILAC) at ICRISAT: A case study of the Tata-ICRISAT Project

Institutional innovations are critical for effective performance of agricultural research centres in natural resource management projects that often include multiple and diverse stakeholders with contrasting objectives and activities. This study extended the approach of institutional histories to an on-going project of ICRISAT-“combating land degradation in India”. This study undertaken for ICRISAT, shows how institutional histories of projects could be used as tools to help reveal institutional innovations thereby promoting Institutional Learning and Change (ILAC). The learning from the historical study and the application of institutional histories in an ongoing project together reveal interesting insights on international agricultural research centres and their efforts towards a transition into learning organizations. The study also explores the use of actor-oriented tools for project management and recommends its use to enable collective reflection of partnerships in review and planning meetings of projects.

Supporting ILRI in Innovation Studies

CRISP partnered with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) since June 2004 on the “fodder innovation project”. CRISP conducted an innovation systems study for ILRI in the Krishna and Guntur Districts, in 2004. The study provided insights into the nature and quality of interactions amongst the various actors in the local innovation system and identified the constraints and opportunities that would enable better development, adaptation and use of fodder varieties. CRISP has also provided inputs to the project through training of the project partners on actor oriented tools and institutional histories and has carried out a preliminary seed sector study on fodder. Recently, CRISP has completed a study on Livestock fodder innovations for the poor. This study based on analysis of several institutional innovations in fodder research, delivery and policy, offers fresh insights on promoting fodder innovations for the poor. 

Read: An innovation systems study on the fodder innovations project on enhancing livelihoods of poor livestock keepers in Krishna & Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh(word)