Research Projects

Learning from Local Innovators 

What can we learn about how local innovation works from people who are directly engaged in local innovation processes?

This project includes a variety of methods of learning directly from local innovators, including interviews, a series of local innovator profiles, and case studies of local innovations, local innovators, and places with strong local innovation ecosystems.

Related Publications

Supervised Theses


Mapping Innovation Ecosystems 

How can we identify and represent the elements that contribute to local innovation processes as well as the nature of relationships between those elements?

This project is exploring various methods of identifying and systematically mapping the components of a local innovation system, so that these can be described, analyzed, and assessed in a variety of different places using a standard approach. 

Related Publications

Blogs and News

Development Outcomes of Local Innovation 

How does local innovation contribute to positive development outcomes, what are these outcomes, and for whom are they relevant? 

This project consists of several studies designed to understand how local innovation contributes to development processes and outcomes at the personal, group, and local system levels. We explore outcomes associated with the creation of local innovations, with innovation processes, and with efforts to strengthen local capacity to innovate.

Related Publications

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Towards a complexity-aware theory of change for participatory research programs working within agricultural innovation systems. Agricultural Systems. July 2017. 155: 88-102

Conference Papers

What is capacity to innovate and how can it be assessed? A review of the literature.

International Farming Systems Association (IFSA) Conference. July 2016. 

Blogs and News

Rethinking how innovation creates development impact. MIT D-Lab blog. May 2017.

Evaluating approaches to agricultural development: involving local farmers in tackling a problem can provide long-lasting benefits. MIT News. July 2017.