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Workshops in Review

Design Thinking, June 2016

In the first Innovation Scholars Program workshop, scholars were introduced to design thinking. Facilitators discussed the modeling principles and content of human-centered design for innovation in African food systems. Then, scholars were tasked with creating research design teams to facilitate the re-imagining of the academic research process. The design teams provide an opportunity for scholars to practice implementing new concepts and work as interdisciplinary teams focused on food system solutions for Malawi.

Community Engagement, September 2016

During the Community Engagement Workshop, scholars' design teams utilized the design thinking to develop guiding principles for acquiring and incorporating project feedback. Scholars revised their project action plans and budgets, and developed a deeper understanding of what's necessary to successfully implement a project that engages the local community.  Throughout the workshop sessions, facilitators utilized design thinking processes to facilitate learning, assessment, and action planning. A community forum was also held at LUANAR. The event brought together external stakeholders including government officials, producers, and alumni to discuss expectations and possibilities of collaboration.

Community-focused workshop brings together stakeholders, Nov. 2016

Teaching & Learning, December 2016

During the Teaching and Learning Workshop facilitators further emphasized to scholars the principles, techniques and methods of design thinking and systems thinking. To help bridge the gap between research and application, an interactive forum was held for stakeholders and the university community to discuss the need for innovation and partnerships. Individuals from the private sector, including a LUANAR graduate who now works in the landscape architecture business, were in attendance with the director of national education assessment for Malawi; the director of assessment at LUANAR; the president of the student body; and officials from the government, including a member of Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture.

Innovation through education, GCFSI Wire, Jan. 2017

Leadership Development, June 2017

The Leadership Development Workshop was designed specifically to meet the needs of the InnoSave 

vation Scholars Program leadership track. Though not initially planned, scholars and facilitators agreed that an intensive workshop focused on organizational change would be beneficial. Facilitators from MSU and Wageningen University & Research discussed principles and practices of strategic change. Through the workshop, members of the leadership track planned the next steps they would take to advance their group project -- the creation of a LUANAR-specific leadership development pilot.

Communicating for Impact, August 2017

During the Communicating for Impact Workshop, scholars practiced research storytelling-- explaining their research findings in a compelling manner suitable for the general public. Learning to discuss their community research projects concisely and in ways that people relate to, is crucial if the scholars' research is to have ongoing impact in the community. The gap between scholarly research and farmers or policy makers is an area of great concern and was addressed during a public forum involving various sides of the story. Because the ISP workshop ran parallel to another workshop on LUANAR's campus, which involved journalists from the New Alliance Policy Acceleration Support (NAPAS), journalists and reporters managed to get face-to-face to talk about the challenges they each face. After hours of training, practice, and conversation select researchers were interviewed by local reporters, who followed up with articles in various Malawian news outlets (see below).

Workshop-related media coverage:

Media Urged To Interact With Agricultural Scientists, Progress Malawi, Aug. 2017

Media is crucial in communicating agricultural science for impact, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Aug. 2017

LUANAR moves in to save chambo, The Nation, Aug. 2017

LUANAR asked to embrace media to disseminate innovations that address food security, The Maravi Post, Aug. 2017

Media role in agricultural development critical, The Nation, Aug. 2017

NAPAS for increased “agricultural science” reporting, The Nation, Aug. 2017

IITA warns of aflatoxin, offering free testing, The Nation, Aug. 2017

Government intensifies studies to control fall armyworm, Malawi News Agency, Aug. 2017

About the workshop:

Innovation Scholars drilled in communicating science for impact, LUANAR News, Aug. 2017

Innovations through Conversations, MSU Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, Sept. 2017

Media Workshop: Communicating agricultural science for impact, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy, Aug. 2017

Bridging food scientists and journalists with communications training in the public interest, The Food Fix, Aug. 2017


Celebrate Innovation Symposium, October 2017

GCFSI was invited to present with LUANAR during the activities leading up to the 13th Annual General Meeting of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a network of over 60 African institutions of higher education. The session focused on transformative leadership and was in large part led by three recently graduated Innovation Scholars from LUANAR. By facilitating a mini design thinking workshop, the scholars had their first opportunity to teach others about what they had  learned over the last 15 months. Speaking to an audience of roughly 100 deans and heads of departments from various African universities, the scholar-facilitators challenged them to consider how they could run a meeting that leads to transformative change. The scholars walked the participants through the stages of design thinking, including empathy, problem definition, ideation, prototyping and testing. 

MSU and LUANAR Showcase the Innovation Scholars Program, Oct. 2017