Follow the Innovation

Follow the innovation

This work package aims at (a) strengthening biomass-based value webs by increasing their local adaptability and productivity in systematically fostered transdisciplinary and participatory processes with local stakeholders. The joint research experiences will (b) provide empirical insight into the value web-specific innovation potentials and spaces. By bringing together local practices of adapting to socio-economic change and scientific knowledge, (c) existing biomass-web-specific individual to organizational and system-level capacities for change adaptation are developed. Both pillars, the innovation development and diffusion research, and the attached capacity development components (d) finally form the empirical basis for an overall concept to locally determined transition management based on local, biomass-web-specific capacities to innovate and adapt to change.

Problem statement:

To achieve this project goals’ (see project proposal), we should move away from the older ‘linear diffusion’ model of innovation (in which expert work creates knowledge which is then adapted by the user; scientific knowledge is implicitly regarded as superior to the stakeholders’ knowledge and independent of context. And move towards a model that assumes the existence of many players and their interactions in a multitude of multi-way interactions (so-called “innovation systems”; cf. Conway & Waage 2010; Adekunde et al. 2012; Conway & Waage 2010; Lundvall 1992; Freeman 1987). These interactions are considered in the approach of BiomassWeb that foresees intensive stakeholder participation.


  • Contribute to the strengthening of biomass-based value webs by increasing their local adaptability and productivity jointly with the local stakeholders in systematically fostered, transdisciplinary and participatory processes to innovation development
  • Provide empirical insights into the role of different actors and institutions in the transformation process
  • Promote the strengthening and development of individual to institutional and system-level capacities to better adapt to and steer the ongoing transition processes
  • Develop an action research based concept to locally determined transition management based on local capacities to innovate and continuously adjust to the changed situation.
  • Based on documentation of the research processes, we aim to develop a methodology, on how stakeholder interactions should look like for the participatory innovation development in the local context of Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.

Research questions:

  • Who are the actors involved and which are relevant institutions in the studied biomass webs in transition? What roles do public and private actors play?
  • What are the innovation-driving factors in the case study biomass webs? In which relation do country and biomass-web-specific concepts of transition management stand to each other and which factors determine their specificities?
  • Which locally-adapted, methodological approaches to collective reflection, learning and innovation development allow for the continuous localized further development of the studied biomass webs, as well as the up- and outscaling of biomass web results?
  • What does a locally adapted concept to successful biomass-web-specific collective learning, change adaptation and thus transition management look like?


  • Qualitative ethnographic research, using i.e. participant observation, semi-structured interviews, workshop documentations and others.
  • Conducting a series of innovation-specific transdisciplinary stakeholder workshops.
  • Foster a continuous dialogue between the innovators and biomass web decision-makers.
  • Train, facilitate and supervise transdisciplinary research teams in the project organised around certain innovations.

Countries of field research:

  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Nigeria (tbc)

Involved partners:

  • Dr. Tadesse Woldemariam Gole
    Senior Researcher
    Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF)


  • Dr. Girma Kelboro Mensuro
    Senior Researcher
    Center for Development Research
    Department: Political and Cultural Change
  • Gerba Leta Dufera
    Junior Researcher/FTI Process Facilitator for Ethiopia
    Center for Development Research (ZEFa)
  • Dr. Kwadwo Amankwah
    FTI Process Faciliator for Ghana