The debates about science, technology and innovation (ST&I) in rural development have seen something of a renaissance in recent years, with a number of new and existing organisations in the field of agriculture looking at the adoption of innovation as an organising principle for both policy and action. However, due to the ever-changing nature of the field, the process of navigating through the various emergent and existing schools of thought that produce its vast and complex literature can be a bit of a challenge.
LINK has just released a new document, titled the “Tourist Guide to Systems Studies of Rural Innovation” — the first in a series of policy resources on rural innovation, which we hope makes this process just a little bit easier. The ‘Tourist Guide’ is a resource document charting the emerging landscape of systems studies on rural innovation and is available for download on the LINK website at www.innovationstudies.org (http://innovationstudies.org/images/stories/linktouristguide.pdf).
At the very outset, we feel obliged to warn readers that the comprehensive guide to rural innovation systems is anything, but. Since we hope that this is a pilot rather than a definitive guide we felt it useful to point out its limitations (and our own) in the hope others can take up where we left off.
(i) Out-of-date/ limited
By the time this report goes to print, it will already seem very out-of-date because it will be. The last few years have been witness to the rapid emergence of the field of rural innovation studies in agricultural research. Almost every day there appear to be new organisations working on issues dealing with rural innovation and researchers bringing out new reports. We are aware that the report may have missed publications or different research groups working in this field. Exclusions are not by design but the result of our limited ability to keep pace with rapid changes. If you feel we have missed your work please do let us know.
ii) Artificial categorisation
The categories into which we have lumped the various organisations in the field — and the bibliography they have produced — are ones that we have created based on our take on the issues and themes we deem significant as well as our understanding of research of others in the field. Researchers and organisations may find themselves categorised in a way they disagree with and we apologise for that.
These are just two of the problems with the report that we identified on introspection; the rest can be found in the full version of the Tourist Guide. Readers, no doubt, will find quite a few more and are welcome to point them out to us as a comment below or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.