The concept of an innovation platform is increasingly used in interventions inspired by agricultural innovation systems thinking, as a way of bringing stakeholders from a sector together to enable transformative change. An essential role on such innovation platforms is thought to be that of the ‘innovation champion’, but this role has so far not been unravelled. In this paper, by applying insights from management science to analyse three innovation platforms in West Africa from the Convergence of Sciences – Strengthening Innovation Systems programme (CoS–SIS), different types of innovation champions are mapped. The authors conclude that making a distinction among different types of innovation champions can be useful in identifying members for innovation platforms, but that the specifics of agricultural innovation appear not to be adequately captured by roles attributed to existing categories of innovation champions. Further research is needed to ascertain whether other categories exist, and how different innovation champions interact over time on agricultural innovation platforms.