Since 2010, CIRAD has been working within its teams and with its partners to develop an impact culture, built on a better understanding of the innovation mechanisms that fuel development. Impact is approached from two angles: the impact of its past operations (ImpresS ex post) and programming of future operations (ImpresS ex ante).
The impacts of agricultural research for development are built over long periods, and the pathways that lead to those impacts are often complex and unpredictable; it is therefore rarely possible to establish simple, direct causal relationships between research and a given impact, whether positive or negative, desired or unexpected.
ImpresS: understanding the impact of research
We have developed a scientific approach: ImpresS (Impact of Research in the South). It comprises a set of stages and participatory tools that allow a group of partners:
- to understand the impact pathway of an innovation process in which they have been involved (ImpresS ex post), or
- to work together to build a shared, clear vision of the potential and likely impact pathways of a planned operation (ImpresS ex ante).
Analysing impact: ImpresS ex post
ImpresS ex-post enables scientists to analyse the contribution of research to the societal impacts of the innovation processes in which it participates. The method is participatory: the main stakeholders in the innovation concerned are associated with designing, assessing and analysing impacts. ImpresS ex-post was built based on four pilot studies and 13 case studies. A methodological guide, available in English, French and Spanish, describes the ImpresS ex post method in order to facilitate its use by CIRAD teams and their partners in the South.
ImpresS ex post methodological guide
Building a shared vision: ImpresS ex ante
ImpresS ex-ante aims to build a shared vision of the desired impact pathway(s) of an intervention, by putting stakeholders centre-stage when designing operations involving research. It serves to fuel joint construction of the way in which research contributes to the emergence of societal and environmental impacts. It also serves to reflect on how its interactions with various players influence the changes that contribute to those impacts. The ImpresS ex ante methodogical guide below is also available in French and Spanish.
ImpresS ex ante methodological guide