3.4 Cross visits: increasing capacities of advisors through peer-to-peer learning on interactive innovations

2023

interactive innovation

operational groups

peer-to-peer learning

advisor's training

Rationale

All advisors must be integrated within AKIS in an inclusive way, to be able to cover the economic, environmental and social dimensions and provide up-to-date technological and scientific information developed by R&I (art. 15 Reg. EU 2021/2115). To reach this goal, Managing Authorities had to define appropriate methods and approaches to better support advisors and innovation support services providers in their AKIS Strategies. Especially for innovation support services providers, in fact, there is a need for acquiring a set of capacities and skills that can be more effective if accompanied by experiential learning and exchanges. This kind of interaction seems to be much more productive in terms of learning than attending a seminar or a training course where lecturers try to transfer their wisdom.

Solution

Within the i2connect project a collaborative way of training for innovation support services providers has been realized through the organization of Cross Visits (CVs). The CVs consists of 2-3 days visit in which a group of advisors from different parts of Europe and with different backgrounds visit an interesting interactive innovation case with the aim to learn from how this has been developed and to assess each other contexts, practices and motivations. Visiting group consists of advisors, trained by i2connect training of trainers’ courses (see 4.5 AKIS-in-practice!). The training course was focused on providing a set of analytical tools (e.g. the spiral of innovation; the triangle of co-creation; the circle of coherence; the network analysis) to help advisors, or whoever is involved in innovation processes, to recognize patterns that are behind these complex systems, to understand their logic, and to see options to act effectively in the situation.

The CVs approach promotes the exchange of experiences through peer-to-peer learning among trainees from diverse backgrounds. The primary objective is to comprehend the background of the innovation process and the role advisors play in it, with the overarching aim of transferring this knowledge to their professional settings and beyond. Essentially, CVs serve as a wellspring of inspiration, offering valuable insights, tools, and a shared language that prove beneficial when advisors resume their duties and confront challenges in the workplace.

At the moment, 42 courses of training of trainers have been carried on under the i2connect project, in 18 European countries (up-to-date at October 2023). Under ATTRACTISS (AcTivate and TRigger ACTors to deepen the function of Innovation Support Services) Horizon Europe project, more advisors will be trained and more European countries will be covered. This will allow to have a sufficient number of advisors trained to be involved in CVs. From a practical perspective, each i2connect CVs is based on the following 8 steps, which can be adapted to the context of the hosting country and innovation cases:2023_Practice3.4_Img1.png

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In practice...

The cross visits can be funded under the CAP SPs 2023-2027, particularly, as part the vocational training aiming at enhancing competencies and create chance for knowledge exchanges between advisors and innovation support services providers (art. 78 Reg. EU 2021/2115).
To support this type of intervention it is necessary to carry out the following actions:

  • Define a budget for the cross visits’ implementation under article 78 Reg. EU 2021/2115 interventions.
  • Provide a specific training about tools and methods to facilitate interactive innovation processes to a pool of advisors at a national/regional level. Alternatively, it is possible to benefit from i2connect trained advisors to be involved in the Cross Visit.
  • Select a number of 10/12 trained advisors to attend the cross visit from different regions/countries to guarantee an exchange. It is not recommended a larger number of participants in order to allow a high level of interaction within the group and to be able to manage the administrative procedure related to organize the visit. It is appropriate trying to balance participants provenience in terms of country, gender and background.
  • Identify at list two Operational Group to be visited.
  • Foreseen a budget dedicated for the expenses (travel costs, transfer, accommodation, boards).
  • In case of foreign participants be sure to have a translation (especially for farmers) or involve in the interviews people with a good level of English.

Benefits

  • Inspire for enhancing the services provided and reflecting about solutions to similar problems.
  • Promote competence and skills development through a peer-to-peer learning approach.
  • Enhanced comprehension of innovation processes.
  • Provide an approach to investigate innovation practices and the involvement of support service providers.
  • Create a professional network of innovation support agents from all Europe

Further information

  • Wielinga E. and Paree P. (2016): The Cross Visit Method, Deliverable 2.4: An Improved Methodologic Approach, AgriSpin project (EN)
  • Kroon J., Wielinga E. and Paree P. (2020): Deliverable Number 4.1: Integrated Training, CV and Pilot Plan, i2connect project (EN)
  • Triste L., Kuegler M., Cordeiro M. and Guichaoua A. (2019): Cross visit guidelines to on-farm demonstrations, NEFERTITI project (EN)
  • FAIRshare cross visits (EN)

Materials

Videos