Outcomes of Local Innovation

The projects conducted under this research theme investigate questions at the heart of the Local Innovation Group: How does local innovation contribute to achieving development outcomes? What are the positive changes that result from local innovation activity and from building local capacity for innovation? Who experiences these results, and at what scales (local, regional, or beyond) are they relevant? 

These questions are being explored through multi-year and multi-site research studies that use methods from evaluation research to identify the types of outcomes associated with local innovation and the causal pathways through which these outcomes are produced. These studies clarify how local innovation contributes to development and how it can be leveraged as an effective development strategy. 


Designing an evaluation methodology to assess capacity development for local innovation 

Participants at a Creative Capacity Building workshop in Southern 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.

Identifying the development outcomes of local innovation 

Focus group participants discussing the long-term outcomes of innovation capacity-strengthening programs in Sri Lanka

This exploratory, year-long research study investigated the development outcomes associated with multi-year efforts to strengthen local innovation capacity using participatory and inclusive methods. The study was conducted under the USAID-funded IDIN Program and implemented in collaboration with an internationally-based team of researchers. 

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

Rethinking how innovation creates development impact
Elizabeth Hoffecker / May 2017 / MIT D-Lab Blog

Local innovation: what it is and why it matters for developing economies 
Elizabeth Hoffecker / May 2018 / Working Paper 



Elizabeth Hoffecker, Research Scientist