Do theories of change enable innovation platforms?


Theories of change (ToCs) are increasingly used to articulate pathways for interventions and to supportlearning. This responds to the recognition of the complexity of agricultural development. Through twoexamples, this paper examines how ToCs have enabled practitioners to navigate towards impact in settingscharacterized by a multiplicity of views from different actors on issues of joint concern. The cases discuss howthe intervention programs test the ToCs, as well as organize and reflect on feedback. The cases reveal that onecannot predict the route to impact, but one can compose plausible story lines explicating the assumptions.Developing and using ToCs takes time and requires a deliberate effort to monitor actions and changes.Connecting practitioners with researchers makes it possible to use more intermediate theorisations tailoredto situated and specific impact pathways. However, the dynamics captured by ToCs may contrast with thedonors’ demands for accountability and consistent reliance on a rigid log-frame approach to determine projectactivities and outputs. Therefore, it is relevant to make explicit choices about how to relate ToCs to M&E efforts.


Submitted by Sietze Vellema ( about the type of the publication: Working paperNote:

Research Paper