Agricultural innovation system: An agricultural innovation system is a network of organizations, enterprises, and individuals that—together with the institutions and policies which shape how these actors act and interact to generate, exchange, and apply knowledge—bring new products, processes, and forms of organization into social and economic use.
Systems thinking: A holistic approach to problem-solving that takes into account how the component parts of a system interact with and affect one another. Systems thinking relies on a wide lens rather than a narrow focus only on the problem at hand and its immediate context.
Human and organizational capacity development: At its most basic, capacity development, whether individual or organizational, is the building or strengthening of capabilities necessary to meet specific aims. In the context of agricultural innovation systems, gaps or shortcomings in implementation (e.g., within a value chain) or outcomes (e.g., from extension services) would indicate a need for capacity development.
- UNDP defines capacity development as “the process through which individuals, organizations and societies obtain, strengthen, and maintain the capabilities to set and achieve their own development objectives over time.”
- USAID’s model for human and institutional capacity development aims “to identify fundamental causes of performance gaps in host country partner institutions [and] address those gaps through a wide array of performance solutions. […]”
- PICOTEAM Ltd. sees capacity development as a process of performance enhancement driven by results and desired impacts (rather than input-based capacity building of individuals), based on analyzing the performance of the organizational system as a whole, including the underlying systemic blockages to performance.
System domains: Categories that can be used to describe, classify, and group actors based on common attributes. In an agricultural innovation system, these domains are commonly grouped into four categories: research and education; bridging institutions; business and enterprise; the enabling environment; and the systems and networks that link these domains.
Theory of change: A detailed description of the process by which a desired outcome is expected to occur as a result of some change initiative, highlighting pathways, conditions, actors, and activities that together are expected to lead to the desired outcome.
Enabling environment: The policies and institutions, legal and regulatory frameworks, infrastructure, skills and capacities, and other factors that together influence the behavior of relevant actors in a system.
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E): An ongoing process of tracking and using specific indicators to determine whether, where, what type, or how much progress has been made on an activity or project.
Design thinking: An iterative and collaborative process used to develop new approaches and solutions to problems or challenges. The typical steps in a design thinking process are: understand, observe, synthesize points of view, ideate, prototype, and test.