Living Lab: Improving the advisory service by bringing the innovation closer to farmers

Navarra, Spain

Navarra, Spain

This Living Lab wants to improve the current advisory service by bringing innovation closer to farmers and involving advisors and farmers in the design of this service.

AgriLink Living Lab Spain

Traditionally, the regional public advisory service (INTIA) in Navarra has had a key role providing services to farmers.

This advisory service is based on the information gained from own experimentation and R+D activities, technical and economic data of advised farms and other references from bibliography or synergies with other organisations.

In a context in which farmers are trying to adapt themselves to new laws, changes in consumers’ demand and new challenges and needs regarding sustainability, researchers and experimentation experts are trying to develop tools and solutions to help farmers.  Nowadays, experts are the main users of the tools and the knowledge is  transferred to the farmer through the advisor.

However, in order to make a more efficient advisory service it is necessary to involve all the actors in the transference of knowledge:  involve experimentation experts who work on the development of solutions and also advisors and farmers who get familiar with the use of these tools and solutions in the field, organise  demonstrations in farmers’ plots to enhance peer to peer learning  and try to promote a collaborative use of the Pest Monitoring and Warning system (PMWS) and other tools to improve the decision making process in the field.Theme and target groupNew ways to connect experimentation experts, advisors and farmers and build a more efficient advisory service.

We work with two different groups. On the one hand, we work with advisors, trying to identify their needs to make a better design of the service that they offer. On the other hand, we work with farmers, the end-users of the service.

We chose three different cooperatives with different needs, different crops and in different areas of the region. The aim of this was to try to test the LL methodology in different situations.

Aim of the Living Lab

This Spain Living Lab wants to improve the current advisory service by bringing innovation closer to farmers and involving advisors and farmers in the design of this service.

Partner and responsible person contact

Institute for Agrifood Technology and Infrastructures of Navarra (INTIA)

Noelia Telletxea, ntelletxea@intiasa.es

INTIA has a long experience providing different services to farmers in Navarra. This Living lab was a good opportunity to work together with farmers and advisors on the identification of new needs and challenges of the advisory service.


The Living Lab story

The idea was to test the methodology and some changes in the advisory service in cooperatives that were different, in order to see if the initiative could be replicated in other cooperatives of the region.

We started the Living Lab experience in 2018. The initial idea was to develop an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tool, but after a diagnosis phase in which we met the group of advisors of INTIA and different stakeholders of the sector, we decided that this tool was only a part of the advisory service and we could broaden our objective and cover more areas of the advisory service on IPM.

First, we organised a meeting with the advisory team of INTIA. We could discuss about different issues regarding the advisory service and IPM and they proposed ideas and worked together on the prioritisation of these ideas. Then we chose three cooperatives as “pilots”.

We organised meetings in these three cooperatives where we could define the scope of the project for each of them. During 2019, we tested some of the proposals made by technicians and farmers in these cooperatives.

In one cooperative the aim was to develop farmers’ micro networks that together with advisors, promote peer to peer learning and bring the innovation closer to the cooperative. In the other two cooperatives the aim was to integrate the use of tools and technologies by advisors and farmers in farmers’ plots.

In June 2019, during the Consortium meeting in Pamplona, attendees had the opportunity to visit the Living Lab experiences and to participate in the “Peer to peer mentoring” exercise in which we worked on small groups trying to find solutions to different problems that farmers have. The farmers who took part in the workshop appreciated being part of that interesting forum where people gave advice and talked about similar experiences in their countries.

It has been a positive experience with potential for replication, not only in other cooperatives but also in other areas of INTIA.

Lessons learned

1The Living Lab methodology for co-creation: The Living Lab methodology may be very interesting to create innovation support services. Co-creation with active participation of farmers, collaboration among different entities and peer to peer transfer of solutions enrich the results and guarantee the interest along the process. It is necessary to ensure that the subject is interesting for farmers (bottom-up). Usually immediate needs prevail over the need of innovation and farmers have to make sure that the tool or service that is going to be developed is going to be interesting for them.

2The influence of attitude: The attitude of final users may also have great influence. They can guarantee the continuity of the experience or the can block progress. It may be necessary to find ways to motivate participants along the process.

3Adapting to the context: The Living Lab methodology works differently in various situations. It is easier to organise activities and to run a Living Lab where there is already a structure, a group of farmers who are used to meet, talk, exchange, etc.

4Clear scope and boundaries: It is necessary to define clear scope. During the process, new ideas or proposals that were not planned at the beginning may emerge. Although this may be interesting, in some cases it would be necessary to put some boundaries in order to avoid deviations.

More info about Spanish Living Lab

Practice Abstract 6 – Living Lab INTIA: Improving the advisory service on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (INTIA)

Articles about Spain Living Lab:

Video  presentation of the Spanish Living Lab: https://www.agrilink2020.eu/news-video-presentation-of-the-spanish-living-lab/