Innovation Platforms
On this page you find the following information about Innovation Plat
forms (IPs):
  • Conceptual background on what IPs are
  • Documentation about the way they were conceptualized and implemented in practice in each of the program's regions: Ethiopian Highlands, East and Southern Africa, West Africa.

One blog post about the general theory and practice (as of February 2015) can be useful reading, program-wide: Innovation platforms in Africa RISING: Theory and practice.

Conceptual background: What is Innovation Platform (IP)?

An innovation platform is a forum for learning, action and change. It is a group of individuals (who often represent different organisations) with different backgrounds and interests. These individuals may include: farmers, agricultural input suppliers, traders, food processors, researchers, government officials, etc. These members come together to diagnose problems, identify opportunities and find ways to achieve their goals. Platforms should also enable diverging interests to come to the fore so that compromises can be developed. Activities may be designed and implemented with the involvement of all platform members, or they may be used to or coordinate activities by individual members or groups of members (Homann-Kee Tui et. al. 2013).

IPs have recently become a popular approach in research for development programmes. The popularity of IPs reflects a shift away from technology transfer modes of intervention to focus on co-generation of knowledge. Innovation platforms seek to build innovation capacity, by bringing stakeholders together for dialogue and joint action. Within agriculture, IPs can be useful to explore strategies that can boost productivity, sustainably manage natural resources, improve value chains, or influence policies; these strategies often include biophysical, socioeconomic and political elements, and concern various formal and informal institutions (Homann-Kee Tui et al. 2013). By bringing together actors from various sectors and from different administrative levels, and by acknowledging and making use of their diverse capacity (knowledge, skills, capabilities, interests, resources), IPs may be able to identify and address existing barriers or challenges to innovation and/or take advantage of potential opportunities.

There are twelve practice briefs on IP produced with a support from Humidtropics program with experts from different countries and programs. Please follow this link to read more on 12 topics all about IP from its definition up to its impact:

These ‘practice briefs’ are intended to help guide agricultural research practitioners who seek to support and implement innovation platforms. A contribution to the CGIAR Humidtropics research program, the development of the briefs was led by the International Livestock Research Institute; they draw on experiences of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, several CGIAR centres and partner organizations.

Read more information about innovation platforms in the NBDC (CPWF)...

The practice in Africa RISING program countries...

...In the Ethiopian Highlands



Blog posts and photo trip reports


See this selection of tagged pictures and the album 'innovation platform' on the Africa RISING Flickr photo collection:

Innovation platform guidelines, papers and training reports

Woreda / kebele innovation platform meeting reports and stories


Basona Worena woreda (Amhara)

Endamehoni woreda (Tigray) -

Read the Endamehoni phase 1 summary report (February 2016)

Lemo woreda (SNNPR)

Sinana woreda (Oromia)

Regular Ethiopia IP team meetings

Since February 2015, a small team focusing on IPs in Ethiopia (Alan Duncan, Elias Damtew, Ewen Le Borgne, Kindu Mekonnen, Simret Yasabu, Zelalem Lema) is meeting nearly every month to discuss progress, process, issues, ways to improve this work.

Ideas to discuss at upcoming meetings:
  • How about involving Jason Sircely in our meetings (apparently he works a lot on IPs too)
  • What to make of the relative lack of conceptual foundations for IPs in Africa RISING? What would be welcome contributions (publications) to bridge this gap?
  • How to connect AR with social learning work from CCAFS/CCSL?

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of IPs in Ethiopia

The M&E work on IPs in Ethiopia is conceptualized in the Participatory monitoring and evaluation framework to measure Africa RISING innovation platform contributions to project outcomes in the Ethiopian highlands.
This M&E framework considers monitoring at three areas of IPs: establishment, functioning and outcomes. It features various tools to capture relevant data about these areas of M&E:
  1. Annex 1: IP establishment form (tool 1)
  2. Annex 2: IP registers (tool 2a)
  3. Annex 3: Activity report (tool 2b)
  4. Annex 4: Training evaluation form (tool 4)
  5. Annex 5: IP member evaluation tool (tool 3)
  6. Annex 6: Stakeholder interaction tool (tool 5)
  7. Annex 7: Most Significant change story form (tool 6)

Data collected is made available via Google Drive folders (for people who are specifically granted access).
Other IP M&E data is available on this page. East and Southern Africa

Innovation Platform meetings


PowerPoint presentations


Blog posts West Africa

Innovation platform meetings


  • 18 December 2014 - Bongo District (Upper East Region, Ghana) R4D platform launch
  • 16 December 2014 - Kassena Nankana East District (Upper East Region, Ghana) R4D platform launch


Blog posts