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What do complex adaptive systems look like and what are the implications for innovation policy?

  • Andy Hall

    (United Nations University, Maastricht, the Netherlands)

  • Norman Clark

This paper explores the use of complex adaptive systems theory in development policy analysis using a case study drawn from recent events in Uganda. It documents the changes that took place in the farming system in Soroti district during an outbreak of African cassava mosaic virus disease (ACMVD) and the subsequent decline in cassava production-the main staple food in the area. Resultant adaptation impacts are analysed across cropping, biological, economic and social systems each of which operate as an interlinked sub-systems. The policy implications of this story suggest a policy agenda that recognises adaptation capacity as the life blood of complex adaptive systems. Since these types of system are found in all realms of human activity, it follows that strengthening this capacity is a key developmental priority that requires linking together new configurations of actors and resources to tackle an ever changing set of contexts. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/jid.1690
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

Volume (Year): 22 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 308-324

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:22:y:2010:i:3:p:308-324
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  1. Rufin Baghana & Pierre Mohnen, 2009. "Effectiveness of R&D Tax Incentives in Small and Large Enterprises in Québec," CIRANO Working Papers 2009s-01, CIRANO.
  2. Biggs, Stephen D., 1990. "A multiple source of innovation model of agricultural research and technology promotion," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(11), pages 1481-1499, November.
  3. Hall, Andy & Sulaiman, Rasheed & Bezkorowajnyj, Peter, 2008. "Reframing technical change: Livestock Fodder Scarcity Revisited as Innovation Capacity Scarcity: Part 3. Tools for Diagnosis and Institutional Change in Innovation Systems," MERIT Working Papers 004, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  4. Ekboir, Javier, 2003. "Why impact analysis should not be used for research evaluation and what the alternatives are," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 166-184, November.
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