Knowledge management for pro-poor innovation: the Papa Andina Case

  • Douglas Horton
  • Graham Thiele
  • Rolando Oros PROINPA Foundation
  • Jorge Andrade-Piedra
  • Claudio Velasco
  • André Devaux CIP
Keywords: research, potatoes, agriculture, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Andean mountains, mountains, Latin America


Papa Andina began as a regional research program focusing on the Andean potato sectors of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, but later shifted its focus to facilitating pro-poor innovation. To accomplish this shift, a number of approaches were developed to foster innovation, by facilitating mutual learning and collective action among individuals and groups with differing, often conflicting, interests. This paper explains why and how Papa Andina shifted its focus from conducting research to facilitating innovation, and describes two approaches that Papa Andina developed to facilitate mutual learning and innovation: the ‘participatory market chain approach’ and ‘horizontal evaluation’. Differing local circumstances and beliefs shaped the work of local teams, and rivalry among the teams stimulated creativity and innovation. Participatory evaluations helped individuals recognize and appreciate differences and build shared knowledge across the teams. After describing the case, the paper discusses the implications for knowledge management and innovation theory, and for the potential use of Papa Andina's approaches in other settings.


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