Local Innovation Capacity

This area of research explores questions that are directly relevant to MIT D-Lab's community-based partners and others around the world who are working to strengthen local capacity for innovation and creative problem-solving. These questions include: what capacities are needed in order to produce and sustain innovation processes at the community level? How are these capacities developed, and how do they contribute to producing innovation? Finally, what are effective methods for detecting and assessing these capacities?

The research projects under this theme are developing empirically-grounded models for understanding local innovation capacity and methodologies for measuring changes in these capacities over time and across diverse locations. 


Designing an evaluation methodology to assess capacity development for local innovation 

Creative Capacity Building workshop in San Mateo del Mar, Mexico

This three-year project is developing and field testing an evaluation methodology to assess the outcomes of participatory interventions that seek to strengthen local capacity for innovation and creative problem-solving in under-resourced communities throughout the Global South. The project is funded by the USAID Center for Development Research and forms part of the MIT CITE research portfolio. Read more.

Related Publications

Towards a complexity-aware theory of change for participatory research programs working within agricultural innovation systems
Boru Douthwaite and Elizabeth Hoffecker / July 2017 / Agricultural Systems

What is capacity to innovate and how can it be assessed? A review of the literature
Sophie Allebone-Webb, Boru Douthwaite, Elizabeth Hoffecker, Syndhia Mathé and Bernard Triomphe / July 2016 / Proceedings of the 12th European International Farming Systems Association (IFSA) Symposium (pp. 209-231).


Elizabeth Hoffecker, Research Scientist