The key objective of the DFID‐funded Research Into Use (RIU) Programme, which has been implemented across 12 African and Asian countries, involves the notion of enabling ‘agricultural innovation and development’ as outcomes. Despite that, there seems to be little specification in terms of what country teams should expect as indicators of such desired ‘innovation’ when it does occur. It was perhaps the right thing to do because a cookie‐cutter approach would have proven problematic in field implementation, given that what could count as innovation in one country context may not apply in another. This paper briefly reviews three conceptual frameworks: namely, the national agricultural research system (NARS), the agricultural knowledge and information system (AKIS) and the agricultural innovation system (AIS) concepts. Next, the paper reviews the definition of ‘innovation’ and proposes that agricultural innovation can occur at four different but interlinked domains. The paper then defines and discusses these domains, and uses evidence from outcomes of the DFID‐RIU experiments in Nigeria to explain how these fit into the four domains, and how all these outcomes qualify as agricultural innovation. It concludes by explaining that the programme needs to recognise the whole gamut of impact in different domains in order to make a compelling case for investments in RIU‐like approaches.
RIU 2010 Discussion Paper 10, 27 pp.