Assessing Local Innovation Capacity

2020 – Present


Elizabeth Hoffecker
Principal Investigator

Elias Damtew Assefa
Postdoctoral Associate 

Eunhae Lee
Graduate Research Assistant

Artie Maharaj
MIT D-Lab Evaluation Associate 

Megha Hegde
MIT D-Lab Research Associate  




Kulika Uganda

Universidad del Valle de Guatemala


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

Developing a framework and tools for assessing local capacity to innovate at the individual, group, and system levels.

Project Overview 

Increasingly, global development actors are prioritizing approaches aimed at strengthening the capacity of local communities to create their own solutions to the development challenges they face; in other words, to innovate locally. As interventions aimed at strengthening local innovation capacity become more popular, a need has emerged for reliable and practical methods of assessing changes in local innovation capacity at the individual level, group level, and the level of local systems.  

This project is addressing this need through the development of an integrated evaluation framework, methodology, and research protocols that can be used to assess changes in local innovation capacity at the grassroot level across diverse project contexts. The project involves conceptual and theoretical work related to identifying relevant dimensions and indicators of local innovation capacity, as well as methodological work to identify, field test, and refine a set of assessment tools that can be used by practitioners and researchers alike across a wide array of local project settings.  

Related Publications 

Solving problems and strengthening systems: How local innovation of appropriate technology contributes to development (book chapter, Edward Elgar publishers, 2022).

A Framework and Tools for Assessing Local Innovation Capacity: Guide for Implementers. (Project report, MIT Local Innovation Group and MIT D-Lab 2022).

Identifying common outcomes of CCB programs: key informant interviews with practitioners (Interim project report, MIT D-Lab, 2021) 

What is capacity to innovate and how can it be assessed? A review of the literature (Peer-reviewed conference paper, 2016)


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