Inspired by Innovation System theory, donors promote Innovation Platforms (IP) to enhance collaboration for development. However, the question arises whether this is the best approach to facilitate change. The article presents the experience of an action-research programme (2009-2013) on the value of IPs for creating institutional change for the benefit of smallholders, in various value chain contexts in West Africa. We analyse the cases from a dialectic perspective on institutional entrepreneurship. Results show: the open IP approach, with some clear principles and in-depth analysis of the antagonistic context, enabled the initiator-cum-facilitators to create a reasonably effective IP coalition that endorsed broker activities fit for the context. In a mature value chain, it was possible to mobilise incumbent actors, who perceived a mutual benefit in enhancing smallholder development. In the other cases, IPs were started at lower administrative levels, building discursive legitimacy and -appeal to mobilise smallholders and higher level authorities for institutional change. We note a researcher-initiated open IP approach is able to induce strategic action in-situ, but the approach has its limitation: In the time given, IPs could neither build a cooperative smallholder movement, nor interest private export companies to invest in smallholders; nor tackle misaligned political interests.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 11th European IFSA Symposium: Farming systems facing global challenges : Capacities and strategies|
|Editors||T. Aenis, A. Knierim, M-C. Riecher, R. Ridder, H. Schobert, H. Fischer|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Event||11th European IFSA Symposium, Berlin, Germany - |
Duration: 1 Apr 2014 → 4 Apr 2014
|Conference||11th European IFSA Symposium, Berlin, Germany|
|Period||1/04/14 → 4/04/14|