International workshop on “Agricultural Innovation Systems in Africa” (AISA)

29-31 May 2013, Nairobi, Kenya
Back to the public agenda

(Organizers' agenda [early draft] - visit the event's public page)


  1. Learning from diverse experiences and findings and identifying the policy implications;
  2. Organizing a dialogue among represented stakeholder groups ultimately aimed at influencing policy and forging closer collaboration in implementation.

See the concept note



Wednesday 29 - Feedback from the EAFIF and the Innovation Platform Writeshop

  • 14.00: (A1)Welcome (KARI / KARO director / MoA rep) and introduction of the objectives and agenda (Ewen)
  • 14.30: (A2) Inviting all participants to brainstorm 'ideas, actors, approaches' that are part of ag innovation systems in Africa, to hear about recent events and to meet each other in an interactive manner.
  • 15.30: Coffee / tea break
  • 16.00: (A3) Keynote and buzz Q&A
  • 17.00: Close
  • 18.00: Drinks at ILRI campus

Thursday 30

  • 09.00: (B1) Oral paper session contextual world cafe
  • 10.30: Coffee / tea break
  • 11.00: (B2) World cafe feedback and 'information orchard' poster tour
  • 12.30: Lunch break
  • 13.30: (B3) Oral paper session and policy dialogue fishbowl conversation
  • 15.00: Coffee / tea break
  • 15.30: (B4) Documentation of insights on the living keynote doc
  • 17.00: Close

Friday 31

  • 09.00: (C1) Poster and open marketplace session
  • 10.30: Coffee / tea break
  • 11.00: (C2) Open space: final implications
  • 12.30: Lunch break
  • 13.30: (C3) Stakeholder dialogue
  • 15.00: Coffee / tea break
  • 15.30: (C4) Next steps and close
  • 17.00: Close

Additional details

Wednesday 29:
  • A1: Welcome by director. Introduction of program - all straightforward, no fluff.
  • A2:
    • Forming a large circle, Ewen invites anyone to come share words that represent an actor, an approach, a component of African Ag innovation systems. Once they say it, Ewen writes them on an A4 sheet and invites the person suggesting it to come hold it in the middle. After 3-5' this stops and we have a group of people in the middle of the circle, representing a multi-stakeholder process.
    • Supposedly someone will say 'innovation platforms' and 'farmers' or perhaps 'peer learning'. We use that opportunity to briefly introduce (2 x 5-10') the results of the EAFIF and of the IP writeshop by one person for each of these.
    • After the presentation, we look back at the set of cards and the types of actors typically involved in groups and form multi-stakeholder groups. Each group has the assignment to find out about the main issues/challenges for Ag Innovation System to happen in practice. In the process, they can go to either an EAFIF booth or an IP writeshop booth to pick the brains of the organizers of these about the insights that came up at the end. All teams (of about 10 people) are supposed to bring back the results of their investigation (documented on a set of colour cards) on a wall where they can cluster their answers -without having to present it in plenary. ALTERNATIVELY, we could actually cluster people in stakeholder groups and get a different set of representations to give (as an illustration of the different perspectives -and also of the overlaps- we are dealing with in multi-actor innovation systems).
    • This session nicely meshes in with the coffee/tea break - during that break we (Ewen/organizers) cluster up the wall with ideas.
  • A3: Upon coming back, we look back at the picture(s) and briefly comment on it. Then we invite the main presenter(s) to share the keynote presentation and Peter Ballantyne to introduce the process of working on a living keynote document through the event. The remainder of the session is used for buzzing among participants about the presentation and to share some insights that will go to the 'keynote wall' as key inputs to one collective rich picture, based on previous inputs and on this final buzz session. This keynote wall is a simplified version of the keynote live document that will be updated throughout the event.
  • We close the workshop, thanking the farmer participants and move on to the drinks' reception at ILRI.
Required inputs:
  • Poster presentations from the EAFIF and from the IP writeshop.

Thursday 30:
  • B1: We start again with a short recap of the previous day by participants and an explanation of the oral papers' session: 4 different sessions are hosted, each of them gives an elevator pitch of 1' and participants go freely to either of the presentation booths (for 15' to 30') to find out what experience they have. The presenters become documenters of their interactions with participants. After 15'-30', we host 8 simultaneous world cafes (2 convened by each of the presenters/presenting teams) around issues that feature in their experience and that matter generally. The documenters pay particular attention to a) general trends (the usual reporting stuff from world cafe) and b) outliers (e.g. the innovative, quirky gems from interesting view points or deepening expertise). They spend coffee time to generate a few headings to put under the general keynote document (on the wall - to prepare for the virtual work).
  • B2: All participants are invited to share insights from their world cafe discussions in plenary in the first 30'. In the remaining time, an 'information orchard' poster tour is organised: The posters are displayed around the room and participants are invited to wander around in two sessions of 30' where the presenters can present their work and converse with participants about these experiences. Participants that really want to move around are allowed to do so (but we try to generally keep some focused groups to get the conversation going and the insights to surface). The poster presenters document the session and add interesting insights to the keynote wall.
  • B3: Another set of oral papers is being presented with again 4 different sessions hosted. Same process with elevator pitch to help participants attend the session of their choice. But this time the presenters get 40' of interaction. After the presentation, all participants come back and 3 fishbowl discussions are organised (5') to gather in particular the policy messages emerging from the presentations (45').
  • B4: In the final session of the day, we do another round of consolidation of insights around specific interest groups structured around issues that make up the living keynote document. The time is used among others to populate the document (on the wiki?) through dedicated typists for each interest group. We take a bit of time at the end to see if there are gaps emerging from the groups, which need to be addressed the next day.

Required inputs:
  • World cafe owners and ideally dedicated documenters.
  • Exact overview of number (and contents) of oral presentations and posters
  • 4 projectors (or we need to structure this differently)

Friday 31:
  • C1: Poster and open marketplace: After a short recap of the previous day, as on the previous day, poster presenters offer another round of presentations. However, this time, there is also a 'marketplace of other experiences and ideas' which is left for non-official presenters to share some experiences and insights and to document these. This opens the space for the 'open space' that will occupy the full next session.
  • C2: Open space: An Open Space of exploration, documentation and action is organized: Participants can propose any topic that fits under the general event theme and it can either be to a) further explore some issues in more depth, b) document in more details existing conversations and experiences that have been shared (on/from the online document or its wall equivalent) or c) propose actions that will guide recommendations in the next session.
  • C3: Stakeholder dialogue: Groups of stakeholders are invited to first gather as their functional group to share some insights and points for discussion in the collective arena (20'). In the remaining time, they form small groups (8 max) to discuss key insights and recommendations to go forward (20'). They each elect 1 representative to speak on their behalf and bring forward a number of points and possible commitments. In a closed fishbowl/panel-like session, (40') they share their recommendation and work in a 'Yes and...' format to develop a more coherent vision of where they stand vis-a-vis ways forward.
  • C4: Next steps and close: Peter B and his team present the results of the keynote document as it stands. A group of observers/organizers reflects upon the fruits of the stakeholder dialogue and of the keynote document and suggest some ways forward. All participants gather in functional group and come up with a word or 2 that corresponds to their commitment to making this policy dialogue work out. Each member holds an A4 format letter making up that word and they can also write, at the bottom of that letter, their personal commitment to making it work. All participants then align in concentric semi-circles (one for each of the stakeholder group) and they represent a multi-stakeholder engagement to the recommendations made in this workshop.
  • Facilitator and organizers thank everyone and we rejoice!
Required inputs:
  • See above

The combination of keynote, oral presentations, posters and free marketplace is an allegory to the process of collecting, cultivating, sharing and learning from various knowledge and information sources in multi-stakeholder processes and other innovation systems, from 'more structured around a set agenda' (the keynote end of the spectrum) to less structured/organic/civic-driven (the free marketplace).