How does institutional embeddedness shape innovation platforms? A diagnostic study of three districts in the Upper West Region of Ghana
This article (PDF) in the NJAS – Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences examines the factors that enhance and constrain innovation platforms’ functionality by applying the concept of institutional embeddedness. Innovation platforms have emerged as a way of enhancing the resilience of agricultural and food systems in the face of environmental change. A case study is presented of sub-national platforms established in three districts of the climatically-stressed Upper West Region of Ghana. A different kind of organization − the traditional chief council, the agricultural extension service, and a local NGO − was chosen by members to convene and coordinate the platform in each district. The authors examine platform members’ accounts of the platform formation and selection of facilitating agent, their vision for platform roles, and their understandings of platform agenda and impacts. It is illustrated how the organizational position of facilitating agents contribute to shaping platform agendas, functions, and outcomes. This process hinges on the deployment of legitimacy claims, which may appeal to cultural tradition, technical expertise, community engagement, and dominant scientific narratives on climate change. Institutional embeddedness is thereby shown to be a critical aspect of agency in multi-actor processes, contributing to framing local understandings of the climate change and to channelling collective efforts towards select response strategies. In conclusion, the authors stress that the institutional identity of facilitating agents and their relationship to members of the platform and to powerholders in the broader context provides a useful diagnostic lens to analyse the processes that shape the platform’s ability to achieve its goals.