Baskets of Golden Eggs shared at the CGIAR June Transfer Marketplace

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By Amanda Harding, Colleen Anderson, Sonja Vermeulen, Katia Krivonos, Oluchi Ezekannagha, Frank Place and Oscar Ortiz

Mobilizing virtual dialogue space to maximize ten years of CGIAR AR4D for a new 10-year research agenda.

The adage “out with the old, in with the new” is a common aspiration. Yet we all know that building on our strengths is basic common sense. This is especially true in the realm of research and innovation, where investment in people, partners and places is essential. It takes time, effort and capacity for results to take shape on the ground, in policy and at scale.

The CGIAR transition to the 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy provides the opportunity to combine the most promising of the “new” with the strongest of CGIAR’s existing science and research assets.

The Transfer Market Place in June 2021 provided such a forum – a curated space for current custodians of CGIAR’s prize scientific assets to transfer these forward to emerging areas of work – on a “willing buyer, willing seller” basis, through a deliberate dialogue backed with investment and goodwill.

Thirty-Six Golden Eggs were grouped in themed “baskets”, pitched, presented and discussed with both “sellers” (CRP and Platform leaders and scientists) and “buyers” (Initiative Design Team leads and team members) in the room. Not only did the Transfer Market Place offer an opportunity to interrogate the science, its ability to provide solutions, maturity of innovation for adoption, appropriateness in an evolving context, it also created a unique opportunity to challenge silos and develop trans-disciplinary opportunities.

Curating the Golden Eggs

Inspired by RTB’s Golden Eggs (or collective assets), the CGIAR Science Leaders (DDGRs, CRP and Platform leads) started sourcing Golden Eggs from across CRPs and Platforms in April 2021. Surveying the Initiative Development Teams (IDTs) to get a better sense of the demand they were ready by mid-June to be put forward for potential incubation, acceleration and/or adoption to the IDTs by the Golden Egg Curators.

The database of over seventy Golden Eggs was narrowed down to the final 36 and then turned into a virtual “poster” book which was shared with all participants in advance. By the time the Transfer Marketplace started, all actors were primed and ready to participate in the discussions.

Multiple sessions throughout the transfer marketplace were discussions dedicated to how best to incubate and grow innovation, where and how acceleration could take place, and the mechanisms for putting them into cold storage.

The Transfer Marketplace Results: from sellers to buyers

While each basket of Golden Eggs stimulated specific discussion and interest from IDTs with follow-up measures carefully noted, most striking was the interest of multiple IDTs for specific innovation, tools, technologies, networks and approaches; and in some cases an interest for different components or bundling of different Golden Eggs. Many Golden Eggs provided opportunities to inform prioritization and best solutions, to work across entire value chains and engage at multiple scales. They all pointed to the critical role of partnership.

However, given the variation in maturity, they will need nurturing through a mechanism working across research areas, i.e. a resourced environment where they can develop, mature and be customized for different regions and initiatives.

Navigating the virtual space

The virtual marketplace was, in many ways, an experiment in how far we could take the digital dialogue space (see virtual whiteboard to the side). Not only did we see the value of the exchange between the buyers and sellers happening in real-time, but we also realized that the true value of the Golden Eggs would fully hatch in the coming weeks and months. In addition, the visual nature of the marketplace exposed the potential cross-pollination between the different baskets and opened the door for new partnerships and innovations. These partnerships will be critical when it comes to the development and adaptation of the tools to specific contexts.

The Next Steps

This Transfer Marketplace is clearly not the end of the line, for these specific Golden Eggs as well as the others with equally strong potential and relevance looking forward.  There is also potential to adapt the model and reach out to the broader CGIAR ecosystem, providing a further opportunity to maximize the potential of a wider selection of harvested Golden Eggs.

This marketplace was a springboard for connecting different teams, ideas and topics. It reflected an appetite across the CGIAR for interaction and dialogue that is deliberate, solutions-driven and rooted in science, giving researchers a voice with purpose. Above all, the event showed how the past ten years of some of the best CGIAR research will be transferred and regenerated in the years to come.

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