Driving Institutional Innovation for Agricultural Innovation Through R&D Projects: Learning From Two Experiences of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms Formation and Operation in Bolivia

Velasco MacLean, Claudio (2013). Driving Institutional Innovation for Agricultural Innovation Through R&D Projects: Learning From Two Experiences of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms Formation and Operation in Bolivia. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f09b

Abstract

The idea that agricultural innovation does not only result from the transfer of research outputs to farmers but involves heterogeneous individuals and organizations interacting with each other and organizational and institutional conditions that constitute incentives or impediments for innovation to take place, is increasingly recognized as a promising idea among researchers and development practitioners engaged in research and development projects in developing countries. However the challenge of how to make these ideas accessible to practitioners and researchers with action-oriented purposes, whether for the design and implementation of R&D projects or for the in-depth investigation of innovation processes, has not yet been sufficiently addressed.

This is precisely the focus of this research. It seeks to begin filling this gap with theoretical, empirical and methodological contributions by studying in-depth two cases of R&D project-driven attempts to foster the establishment and operation of multi-stakeholder platforms within the Bolivian context of agricultural innovation. Combining conceptual developments offered by the innovation systems and collective action approaches, this research explores the formation and operation of two multi-stakeholder, R&D project-driven processes of collective institutional innovation.

Using action-oriented research methods, it was found that how, and with what effects, R&D projects act as drivers of institutional innovations processes is influenced by the tradition of designing and managing R&D projects, as well as by the prescriptive nature of projects defining what should be done, by whom, how, with what results, and for the benefit of whom.

There are implications for the design and management of R&D projects when they are used as institutional innovation drivers. The implications relate to the definition of objectives, outcomes and indicators of achievement; the definition of roles and positions of the players; and to the instruments for projects planning, monitoring and evaluation. These research findings can help to shape agricultural innovation in Bolivia.

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