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Innovation and learning in agriculture

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Innovation is a complex process, based on interactive network learning and processes of trial and error on the shop floor. Small companies, such as in agriculture, are depending on external knowledge infrastructures for effective innovation. Within small companies, the entrepreneur has a pivotal role in the innovative process: the entrepreneur is the professional learner. Learning and innovation as major parts of entrepreneurship are central to this contribution. How do farmers learn and innovate within a market-led, high-tech agricultural sector and what should governmental policy look like to support and facilitate innovation, avoiding the pitfall of protectionism? Two case studies are presented: one on linear innovation policy and one on learning processes of farmers. Innovative learning is balancing between the chaos of uncertainty and the old grooves of experience. Knowing how to escape this paradox forms the core competence of innovative entrepreneurship.
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Keywords: Agriculture; Entrepreneurialism; Information; Innovation; Learning; Policy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2002

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