Insights on scaling of innovations from Agricultural Research for Development: views from practitioners

Authors

  • Lennart Woltering CIMMYT
  • Maria del Refugio Boa-Alvarado CIMMYT

Keywords:

R4D, CGIAR, interviews, scaling, practice, roles,

Abstract

Despite a growing body of literature on how to scale innovations to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, there has been little attention for how scientists and programme managers engage with the scaling process in practice. Through 36 interviews we found that the dominant understanding of scaling was output and beneficiary-focused, rather than outcome and society focused as the latest literature suggests.  This has implications on how scaling is approached in projects on the ground, and on the role of an agricultural Research for Development (R4D) organization such as the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in bridging science and development. . We recommend more reflection on the scaling process and make more use of scaling capacities and tools to better link scientific knowledge to results on the ground.

Author Biographies

Lennart Woltering, CIMMYT

Lennart Woltering is the Scaling Catalyst at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), seconded through the GIZ/CGIAR Task Force on Scaling. Chair of the Agriculture working group of the Global Community of Practice in Scaling Up Development Outcomes. Developer of the Scaling Scan tool that helps users quickly identify bottlenecks and opportunities for scaling. Interested in the practical implications of shifting mindset around scaling from “reaching many” to include sustainability, responsibility and systems change.

Lennart Woltering, Carr. México-Veracruz Km. 45 56237, Texcoco, Mexico. E-mail: l.woltering@cgiar.org.

Maria del Refugio Boa-Alvarado, CIMMYT

María Boa-Alvarado is the Scaling Coordinator of the Sustainable Intensification Program at CIMMYT. Passionate about understanding and building resilient and sustainable agri-food systems. Facilitator and moderator specialized in the Scaling Scan tool with different experiences in Latin America, Africa, and South Asia. Co-chair of the Agriculture working group of the Global Community of Practice in Scaling Up Development Outcomes.

María Boa Alvarado, Carretera México-Veracruz Km. 45, 56237, Texcoco, Mexico. E-mail: m.boa@cgiar.org

References

Baranski, M. and Ollenburger, M. (2020) ?How to improve the social benefits of agricultural research.?, Issues in Science and Technology, 36(3), pp. 47?53. Available at: https://issues.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/47-53-Baranski-Ollenburger-Spring-2020-ISSUES.pdf

Barrett, C. B. et al. (2020) ?Bundling innovations to transform agri-food systems?, Nature Sustainability, 3(12), pp. 974?976. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-00661-8

CIMMYT (2016) ?Strategic Plan 2017-2022. Improving Livelihoods through Maize and Wheat Science?. International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. Available at: https://repository.cimmyt.org/handle/10883/17715

Cooley, L. and Howard, J. (2019) Scale Up Sourcebook. Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/scaleup/sourcebook/book/1

Linn, J. and Cooley, L. (2014) ?Taking Innovations to Scale: Methods, Applications and Lessons?. Available at: https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1865/v5web_R4D_MSI-BrookingsSynthPaper0914-3.pdf

Gibbs, E. et al. (2020) ?Scaling and ?systems thinking? in education: reflections from UK aid professionals?, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, pp. 1?20. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057925.2020.1784552?journalCode=ccom20

Hall, A. and Dijkman, J. (2019) Public Agricultural Research in an Era of Transformation: The Challenge of Agri-Food System Innovation. IX. Rome and Canberra: CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) Secretariat and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), p. 67 pp Available at: https://cas.cgiar.org/isdc/publications/public-agricultural-research-era-transformation-challenge-agri-food-system

Hartmann, A. and Linn, J. F. (2008) Scaling Up: A Framework and Lessons for Development Effectiveness from Literature and Practice. SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 1301625. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=1301625

Jacobs, F. et al. (2021) The Scaling Scan: A practical tool to determine the strenghts and weaknesses of your scaling ambition. 2nd Edition. PPPLab and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. Available at: https://www.cimmyt.org/work/sustainable-intensification/scaling/

Lantican, M. et al. (2016) ?Impacts of International Wheat Improvement Research: 1994-2014?. International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. Available at: https://repository.cimmyt.org/handle/10883/4822

Leeuwis, C., Klerkx, L. and Schut, M. (2018) ?Reforming the research policy and impact culture in the CGIAR: Integrating science and systemic capacity development?, Global Food Security, 16, pp. 17?21. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2211912417300421

Leeuwis, C., & Wigboldus, S. (2017). ?What kinds of ?systems? are we dealing with?: Implications for systems research and scaling. In Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture?. Routledge: London, pp. 319?333.

Low, J. W. and Thiele, G. (2020) ?Understanding innovation: The development and scaling of orange-fleshed sweetpotato in major African food systems?, Agricultural Systems, 179, 102770. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X19301519

McLean, R. and Gargani, J. (2019) Scaling impact: innovation for the public good. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY: Routledge. Available at: https://www.idrc.ca/es/libros/scaling-impact-innovation-public-good

Meehan, W. and Jonker, K. (2018) ?Earning the Right to Scale?, Standord Social Innovation Review. Available at: https://ssir.org/articles/entry/earning_the_right_to_scale#

Riddell, D. and Moore, M. (2015) ?Scaling out, scaling up, scaling deep: advancing systemic social innovation and the learning processes to support it?. Report for the JW McConnell Family Foundation and Tamarack Institute?. Available at: https://mcconnellfoundation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ScalingOut_Nov27A_AV_BrandedBleed.pdf

Sartas, M. et al. (2020) ?Scaling Readiness: Science and practice of an approach to enhance impact of research for development?, Agricultural Systems, 183, Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X19314477

Schut, M., Leeuwis, C. and Thiele, G. (2020) ?Science of scaling: Understanding and guiding the scaling of innovation for societal outcomes?, Agricultural Systems, pp. 1?11. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X20307691

Seelos, C. and Mair, J. (2019) Innovation and scaling for impact: How effective social enterprises do it (256 pp.). Stanford, CA: Standford University Press.

Shilomboleni, H. and De Plaen, R. (2019) ?Scaling up research-for-development innovations in food and agricultural systems?, Development in Practice, 29(6), pp. 723?734. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09614524.2019.1590531

Van Loon, J. et al. (2020) ?Scaling agricultural mechanization services in smallholder farming systems: Case studies from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America?, Agricultural systems, 180, Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X18314914

WHO and EXPANDNET (2011) Beginning with the end in mind: planning pilot projects and other programmatic research for successful scaling up. France: World Health Organization (WHO). Available at: https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/strategic_approach/9789241502320/en/

Wigboldus, S. (2018) ?To scale, or not to scale?that is not the only question: Rethinking the idea and practice of scaling innovations for development and progress?. Wageningen University & Research. Available at: https://edepot.wur.nl/449586

Wigboldus, S. and Brouwers, J. (2016) Using a Theory of Scaling to guide decision making: towards a structured approach to support responsible scaling of innovations in the context of agrifood systems. Wageningen University & Research. Available at: https://edepot.wur.nl/405915

Woltering, L. et al. (2019) ?Scaling?from ?reaching many?? to sustainable systems change at scale: A critical shift in mindset?, Agricultural Systems, 176. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X18314392

Downloads

Published

2021-08-14

Issue

Section

Papers