Dynamics of Rural Innovation

A primer for emerging professionals

Feeding the world in a sustainable and fair way is the challenge that a new generation of agricultural professionals must face. This will demand not just technological solutions but a whole package of social, economic, market and political innovations. Central to the challenge is enabling people and organisations with different perspectives and different interests to work creatively together. All this demands new ways of thinking and new sets of competencies.

This book offers young professionals and students insight into the theory and practice of ‘innovation systems’. It covers important background and concepts, the ‘how to’ of facilitating innovation,and the role of the broader context. The book is about the dynamics of rural innovation – how to work with the changing nature of both the context and people involved in rural innovation processes and how to facilitate networks of stakeholders to stimulate innovation. The aim is to support agricultural and rural development professionals, especially young ones, as enablers and facilitators of stakeholder-led innovation. Inspirational stories illustrate how different people – from farmers to extension of cers, business leaders, traders, NGO staff, and policy makers – have collaborated to make new and successful things happen.

The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and Wageningen University’s Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) bring more than 30 years of experience working with partners in developing countries on agricultural innovation processes and social learning. This book capitalises on these experiences and brings together both conceptual thinkers and practitioners in the writing process to articulate lessons. The book is targeted towards undergraduate (BSc) and masters (MSc) level students in Africa as well as development practitioners aspiring to use innovation systems thinking in their work.