Understanding Inclusive Systems Innovation

2018 – Present


Elizabeth Hoffecker
Principal Investigator

Eunhae Lee
Graduate Research Assistant

Ahalya Ramgopal
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jana Shemano
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ariana Togelang
Undergraduate Research Assistant


USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research (ITR) Hub within the Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation (DDI)

Project Overview 

There is growing recognition among practitioners and scholars of the importance of multi-stakeholder approaches to systems innovation that prioritize the inclusion and leadership of previously marginalized members of systems in need of change. Inclusive innovation is gaining traction, therefore, as a strategy for more inclusive local and regional development.

Yet research on these processes has been limited, and there is a need to identify what processes of inclusive innovation involve as well as the capacities and skills that are needed to catalyze, facilitate, and support them. This project is developing answers to these questions by investigating successful examples of inclusive innovation within local systems facing development challenges. Through the analysis of existing evidence and new case study research, this project is identifying key features of inclusive innovation processes and producing actionable recommendations for how local and global actors can support inclusive systems innovation initiatives in the diverse contexts where they engage. 

Key Findings 

Successful processes of inclusive local systems innovation across diverse contexts appear to have a common, underlying way of working. This way of working can be represented by a middle-range model that can support adaptive management, cross-context research, and portfolio-level assessment of these types of processes. 

Related Publications 

Rehabilitating goldenberry production in the Ecuadorian Andes with regenerative agriculture (MIT D-Lab / CITE case study)

Understanding inclusive innovation processes in agricultural systems: a middle-range conceptual model (World Development) 

Towards a complexity-aware theory of change for participatory research programs working within agricultural innovation systems (Agricultural Systems)  


Next Project: Learning from Local Innovators