Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Day 1 | Annual Innovation Lab Council Partners Workshop

This blog post was part of a mini series covering the 2014 Feed the Future Innovation Lab Council Partners Workshop held in Kathmandu, Nepal. To learn more about the Feed the Future Innovation Labs and the amazing work that they produce please visit here.

Greetings from Kathmandu! The Agrilinks team is on the ground to bring you the latest from what’s happening at the Annual Innovation Lab Council Partners Workshop. Here’s a brief summary of Day 1 at the Workshop and some of the major takeaways so far.

Jeffrey Griffiths from Tufts Nutrition Innovation Lab and Robert Bertram USAID/BFS opened the workshop by noting that the first meeting like this took place in 2011, when the Collaborative Research Support Programs (CRSPs) met with USAID/BFS “to show that research institutions were not just working in the shadows but at the forefront with the Missions.” Last year’s workshop was held in Uganda, which was attended by CGIAR Consortium partners and value chain partners. This year, seven Missions are in attendance along with a large number of external partners; it’s the first time the workshop has been held in Asia; and there’s a new set of Feed the Future Innovation Labs. This workshop will focus on scaling technologies as a response to USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s challenge to the research community to step up and think more about investments Missions are making.

Specific challenges still to tackle—scaling on the one-hand and nutrition on the other.

Richard Kohl, founder and principal of the Center for Large Scale Social Change LLC, gave the keynote speech. His remarks emphasized that scaling up is different than project management; to show that scaling is spontaneously diffusing, we’re more interested in indirect beneficiaries. For example, the adopter that did not receive training but is still using the tool is a better sign of success. We can subsidize early adopters to minimize the risk of change, but the indicators on indirect beneficiaries are more important.

His key point—shift from “we can hit these numbers by doing it ourselves” to catalyzing partners for sustainability. Agrilinks features more on Richard Kohl and scaling from this year’s Scaling GLEE in Bangkok, Thailand.

J. Vern Long from USAID/BFS encouraged the research community to link to the private sector and find more ways of communicating results. She noted that while the community isn’t responsible for impact, it is responsible for identifying partners to help go up the impact scale. Other sessions throughout the day focused on “Animals in Production Systems” and “Sustainable Intensification and Risk Management Practices.”

At the end of the day, our big takeaway was collaboration. The Innovation Labs are playing a key role in enabling researchers to collaborate with implementing partners. Now more than ever, Missions are working with researchers and implementing partners to ensure that research goes beyond “basic science” and actually has a direct impact on the field. More to report in the days to come!

.....Pachi bhēṭaum̐lā

To read the post for day 2 please cick here!

Day 1 in Photos