Facilitating practice-led co-innovation for the improvement in animal welfare

Lisa van Dijk, H Buller, Louise MacAllister, David Main

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
347 Downloads (Pure)


Using the egg-laying-hen sector as a case study, the European Union-funded ‘Hennovation’ thematic network has been testing mechanisms to enable practice-led innovation through the establishment of 19 innovation networks of farmers and within the laying-hen processing industry, supported by existing science and market-driven actors. These networks were facilitated to proactively search for, share and use new ideas to improve hen welfare, efficiency and sustainability. This article provides insights into the tools used, including a framework for the facilitation of practice-led collaborative innovation processes. This framework was developed through participatory action research to monitor network performance and self-reflection by facilitators. Practice-led innovation processes are network specific and evolve as the actors within the network come together to share common problems, experiment with possible solutions and learn. The participatory and iterative nature of this process leads to uncertainty in process and end results. This raises methodological challenges in the management of such processes and requires a flexible and adaptive management approach focusing on learning and reflection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalOutlook on Agriculture
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Practice-led
  • Innovation
  • Collaborative learning
  • Innovation networks
  • Facilitation
  • Animal welfare


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