Organisational Innovation Systems for multi-actor co-innovation in European agriculture, forestry and related sectors: Diversity and common attributes

Andrew F. Fieldsend, Evelien Cronin, Eszter Varga, Szabolcs Biro, Elke Rogge

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

Abstract

Innovation rests not only on discovery but also on cooperation and interactive learning. In agriculture, forestry
and related sectors, multi-actor partnerships for ‘co-innovation’ occur in many forms, from international projects
to informal ‘actor configurations’. Common attributes are that they include actors with ‘complementary forms of
knowledge’ who collaborate in an innovation process, engage with a ‘larger periphery’ of stakeholders in the
Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS) and are shaped by institutions. Using desk research and
interviews, we reviewed, according to the Organisational Innovation Systems framework, the performance of
200 co-innovation partnerships from across Europe, selected for their involvement of various actors ‘all along the
process’. Many of the reviewed partnerships were composed of actors that had previously worked together and
most interviewees believed that no relevant actors had been excluded. In almost all cases, project targets and
objectives were co-designed to a great or some extent, and the mechanisms applied to foster knowledge sharing
between partners were considered to be very effective. Great importance was attached to communication beyond
the partnership, not simply for dissemination but also for dialogue, and most interviewees evaluated the
communication/outreach performance of their partnership very highly. Most partnerships received external
funding, most did not use innovation brokers during the proposal writing process and two thirds had access to
information they needed. We discuss the implications of these findings and question whether the AKIS concept as
currently interpreted by many policy makers can adequately account for the regional differences encountered by
co-innovation partnerships across Europe.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Volume92
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2020

Keywords

  • B410-agricultural-hydrology
  • Actors
  • Innovation process
  • Innovation network
  • Institutions

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