Boru Douthwaite

Boru Douthwaite
Selkie Consulting Ltd. selkie.ie

PhD
Available for consultancy contracts

About

104
Publications
70,286
Reads
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2,371
Citations
Additional affiliations
March 2016 - present
Independent
Position
  • Consultant
Description
  • Senior researcher and evaluator specializing in innovation systems, social learning and theory of change
February 2012 - February 2016
WorldFish
Position
  • Principal Investigator
October 1999 - January 2003
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Position
  • Adoption and Impact Specialist
Description
  • Responsible for ensuring IITA research was carried out to maximize chances of impact and for carrying out impact evaluations

Publications

Publications (104)
Book
Full-text available
Enabling Innovation is an engrossing look at some of the disaster—and success—stories surrounding technological development and diffusion in industrialized and developing countries. The book tells the story of widely divergent technologies—agricultural appliances, wind turbines, Green Revolution high yielding seeds, the Linux computer operating sys...
Article
Full-text available
"The types of technology change catalyzed by research interventions in integrated natural resource management (INRM) are likely to require much more social negotiation and adaptation than are changes related to plant breeding, the dominant discipline within the system of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Concept...
Article
Agricultural development is fundamentally a social process in which people construct solutions to their problems, often by modifying both new technologies and their own production systems to take advantage of new opportunities offered by the technologies. Hence, agricultural change is an immensely complex process, with a high degree of non-linearit...
Experiment Findings
Full-text available
See uploaded evaluation report
Experiment Findings
Full-text available
See methods section of uploaded evaluation report
Experiment Findings
Full-text available
See uploaded evaluation report
Article
Full-text available
At the end of 2021, CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) will be replaced by Initiatives housed within One CGIAR. This new modality is intended to achieve higher levels of impact at a faster rate and at reduced cost compared to the CRPs. As One CGIAR begins, there is a unique opportunity to reflect on what has worked in different contexts. In this paper,...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues for more creativity and flexibility in agricultural research for development (AR4D) scaling and impact evaluation in complex contexts. While acknowledging the importance of setting reasonable end-of-project targets and outcomes, we argue that the achievement of outcomes and impacts, particularly in complex contexts, requires adapt...
Presentation
Full-text available
The presentation makes the case for an approach called Outcome Trajectory Evaluation which works backwards from established outcomes to establish if and how a program contributed
Technical Report
Full-text available
Between early 2019 and end of 2020 two CGIAR-RTB funded scaling projects employed the Scaling Readiness approach to guide their overall scaling activities and decisions. Scaling approach for flash drying of cassava starch and flour at small scale is a two-year scaling project that aimed at improving cassava processing at small-scale through gains i...
Article
Full-text available
While the key role that policy plays in sustainable development has long been recognized, rigorously documenting the influence of research on policy outcomes faces conceptual, empirical and even political challenges. Addressing these challenges is increasingly urgent since improving policies—broadly defined—is at the heart of the structural transfo...
Article
Full-text available
Since their inception in 2012, the CGIAR research programs (CRPs) on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) and Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) have been generating innovations, testing interventions, and providing science-based evidence and advice to policy and decision makers at local, national and supra-national levels with the expectation...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues that theory of change can be used to help stakeholders in agricultural research for development projects collectively agree on problems and visions of success. This helps them feel greater ownership for their project, motivation to achieve outcomes, and understanding of how to do so. However, the dynamic is damaged if projects are...
Chapter
All research for development programs wish to achieve impact, but understanding how to plan for and document this has been challenging. One of the newest and most popular approaches is the use of theories of change (ToC). This paper looks at how ToCs can be used in agricultural research for development (AR4D) programs. ToCs have been widely used in...
Article
There is a growing recognition that programs that seek to change people’s lives are intervening in complex systems, which puts a particular set of requirements on program monitoring and evaluation (M&E). Developing complexity-aware M&E systems within existing organizations is difficult because they challenge traditional orthodoxy. Little has been w...
Article
Agricultural innovation systems (AIS) are increasingly recognized as complex adaptive systems in which interventions cannot be expected to create predictable, linear impacts. Nevertheless, the logic models and theory of change (ToC) used by standard-setting international agricultural research agencies and donors assume that agricultural research wi...
Article
There have been repeated calls for a ‘new professionalism’ for carrying out agricultural research for development since the 1990s. At the centre of these calls is a recognition that for agricultural research to support the capacities required to face global patterns of change and their implications on rural livelihoods, requires a more systemic, le...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This research was carried out in the framework of the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics). Humidtropics aimed to improve livelihoods of the poor in tropical and sub-tropical areas through sustainable intensification of agricultural systems. Its Theory of Change (ToC) provided a novel approach to t...
Poster
Full-text available
Poster showing preliminary results from a two-year study examining capacity to innovation in farmer organisations in Cameroon. We looked at what elements of capacity to innovate were important, how they changed over time and how those changes were linked to intervention activities.
Article
This article describes the development and use of a rapid evaluation approach to meet program accountability and learning requirements in a research for development program operating in five developing countries. The method identifies clusters of outcomes, both expected and unexpected, happening within areas of change. In a workshop, change agents...
Book
Full-text available
This document is designed to help researchers who want to engage with ethnic groups to ensure agricultural R4D stops contributing to their further marginalization. It can be used by those wanting to design new projects that engage with ethnic minorities from the start or those already implementing projects and wanting to improve their current pract...
Article
Many rural poor and marginalized people strive to make a living in social-ecological systems that are characterized by multiple and often inequitable interactions across agents, scale and space. Uncertainty and inequality in such systems require research and development interventions to be adaptive, support learning and to engage with underlying dr...
Article
This article present a Bayesian probabilistic method to support out-scaling of technologies from pilot projects. The method is applied to aerobic rice, a water-saving technology with probable global potential. The method assumes that areas similar to pilot sites are more likely to adopt than those that are different or unfavourable. Similarity is d...
Article
Full-text available
This paper asks: What have been the impacts of farmer- or community-led (informal) processes of research and development in agriculture and natural resource management in terms of food security, ecological sustainability, economic empowerment, gender relations, local capacity to innovate and influence on formal agricultural research and development...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Our poster is about how in AAS we are organizing to measure capacity to innovate, and about a new method (outcome evidencing) that is helping us both recognize and make sense of emergent change and adapt, and build a longitudinal case of change and contribution for our intervention in complex systems.
Article
Full-text available
Complexity of research activities is increasing as multidisciplinary, multi-institutional time-bounded research teams become more common. Some research organizations have responded by introducing more flexible approaches to manage complex processes, creating new issues related to team building, adaptive management and organizational learning. We ex...
Poster
The CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) Phase II is a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research-for-development program that brings together partners from both fields of research and development. The aim is to increase the resilience of social and ecological ecosystems through better water management for food production. This...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In theory, Knowledge Management (KM) has a critical role to play to support learning, programmatic improvement and adaptive management. The CPWF is learning that there are seven key principles that can help realize this potential.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Basin Development Challenge Programs in CPWF Phase 2 use the two‐dimensional outcome pathways framework to plan for wide‐scale and sustainable adoption of technologies. Each program is composed of three to four interrelated projects, with one or two projects dealing with community‐level change and policy advocacy.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we evaluate the IITA Benchmark Area Approach, which is being used to underpin to deliver general improvements to rural livelihoods in Sub Saharan Africa. The approach has been used for just eight years so a formal ex-post impact assessment is not yet appropriate. Hence we evaluated the approach by comparing it against existing ‘best p...
Article
Full-text available
Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA) is a practical approach to planning, monitoring and evaluation, developed for use with complex research-for-development projects. PIPA begins with a participatory workshop where stakeholders make explicit their assumptions about how their project will make an impact, and produce an ‘Outcomes logic model...
Article
Full-text available
Innovation processes are the processes by which people and organizations interact with each other to put new knowledge to use. These interactions can be represented by networks, showing agents as nodes, and interactions as the links between them. Research-for-development projects attempt to foster and support innovation through research. It follows...
Article
Ten years ago we developed, and published in this journal, the learning selection model to describe the development and early adoption of researcher-developed agricultural equipment in Southeast Asia. In this paper, we update the innovation histories of the three main technologies upon which the model was based and carry out some mapping and analys...
Article
Full-text available
Participatory impact pathways analysis (PIPA) is an evolving tool that offers project managers a deeper understanding of the results that projects might attain with specific partners so as to help set priorities and support funding proposals. In a participatory manner, two groups of information are generated for each project. First, a problem tree...
Article
Full-text available
Adapting through innovation is one way for rural communities to sustain and improve their livelihoods and environments. Since the 1980s research and development organizations have developed participatory approaches to foster rural innovation. This paper develops a model, called the Learning-to-Innovate (LTI) model, of four basic processes linked to...
Article
Full-text available
Livestock–water productivity (LWP) refers to a set of innovations that could contribute towards reducing the amount of water needed per unit of output generated. But what does it take to get these ideas adopted by livestock keepers in crop–livestock systems? In this paper, we treat LWP as an innovation, and consider in what ways it may be introduce...
Chapter
This book shows how a diversity of methods have been used to fit specific CGIAR Centre contexts (whether global and regional, or research-focused on genetic improvement or natural resources management), with more emphasis on simpler and more transparent methods that are readily understandable to a broader set of participants. Increasingly too, repe...
Article
Full-text available
Increasingly, development projects list social capital development and network brokerage among their objectives. How do we quantitatively evaluate such initiatives? Best practice, diff-in-diff methods may be impossible or too costly. Here, we try using data that are byproducts of the network broking process to evealuate the Challenge Program for Wa...
Article
The need to increase yields and farm income, stimulate agricultural growth, alleviate poverty and promote food security in rural communities necessitated the introduction of improved farm management practices and crops varieties in northern Nigeria. Like every well-intended innovation, the benefits of the improved systems could only be realized if...
Article
Full-text available
Scores of assessments of the impacts of agricultural research have been carried out over the years. However, few appear to have been used to improve decision making and the effectiveness of research programmes. The Institutional Learning and Change (ILAC) Initiative emerged within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR...
Article
Full-text available
Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis (PIPA) is a practical planning, and monitoring and evaluation approach developed for use with complex projects in the water and food sectors . PIPA begins with a participatory workshop where stakeholders make explicit their assumptions about how their project will achieve an impact. Participants construct prob...
Article
Full-text available
The Challenge Program on Water and Food pursues food security and poverty alleviation through the efforts of some 50 researchfor-development projects. These involve almost 200 organizations working in nine river basins around the world. An approach was developed to enhance the developmental impact of the program through better impact assessment, to...
Article
This paper evaluates a project that developed and introduced integrated Striga control (ISC) in Northern Nigeria. Adoption of ISC increased from 44 participating farmers in four pilot areas to more than 500 farmers in 16 villages and hamlets in three seasons. On average, farmers adopted 3.25 different Striga control options from a basket of six “be...
Article
Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis1 (PIPA) allows participants in a workshop to make explicit their assumptions and hypotheses about how their projects will achieve impact. These hypotheses can be used as the basis for ex-ante impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation of the project"s progress along its impact pathways, and the identificatio...
Article
The results are presented of a project to promote integrated Striga control (ISC) technologies to farmers in the Guinea savanna of northern Nigeria. Extension agents used a participatory research and extension approach (PREA) to encourage farmers to test and adopt ISC technologies. Over a 2-year period, the performance of the technologies was compa...