The Innovative Development Model
Alfredo del Valle, Ph.D.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is it?
The Innovative Development Model is a conceptual framework and a methodology to generate innovations and innovation capabilities, in simple or complex social systems, by means of methodical participation. By applying this Model, a participatory innovation process becomes materialized in practice. The Model involves a set of new strategies and tools for managing development processes, which have been applied in a wide variety of fields. In the current language, they are knowledge management tools. Furthermore, these strategies and tools are now Internet-based.
Which is its origin?
The Innovative Development Model is the outcome of process of theoretical, methodological and applied research, carried out by a Chilean team headed by Dr. Alfredo del Valle, which started around 1980. Its development has been based on contemporary trans-disciplinary research lines such as systems thinking, futures research (la prospective) and action research. It began at the University of Pennsylvania and has taken place at international agencies and Chilean universities and research centers, and has involved applied research and consulting work in many fields.
What are its main uses?
The most significant ID strategies developed and applied thus far are:
- Policy-scale strategy: A participatory process for a social system as a whole, to design policies, plans or programs. It is future-directed, may involve hundreds of participants interacting methodically, and leads to fully identifying concrete projects.
- Project-scale strategy: A participatory process for identifying and designing projects. Success is linked to actually establishing innovations in the real world and depends on clear identification of potentialities and adequate innovation strategies.
- Internet strategy for networks: An Internet-based process and tool, for strengthening networks or communities, or building virtual organizations that are fully participatory and undertake innovation. It is called the Participatory Workspace (PWS).
- Transfer of experiences: A process for transferring successful experiences among a network of peers –both people and organizations– which combines the PWS and the notion of potentiality. Replicating an experience involves undertaking another innovation, at either the project scale or the policy scale.
Each of these strategies involves some combination of the three basic ID tools, which are all participatory: the action map, the potentiality profile and the Participatory Workspace.
What are the main Innovative Development tools?
The Action Map: A participatory tool for creating action-oriented visions of future for complex social systems, such as cities, health systems or research programs. By means of a participatory conceptualization process, an action map makes an existing or new social system understandable and manageable. It may be prepared in a two-day workshop and validated by hundreds of people.
The Potentiality Profile: A tool for the specification of the grounds of any innovation, which identifies the key that makes them sustainable, significant or successful. It is also a project design tool and a tool for systematizing and transferring experiences.
The Participatory Workspace: An Internet tool or platform for networks or communities to carry out their regular work, by exchanging messages on a permanent basis with full identification and responsibility of participants. It is configured for the language and themes of the community by means of a participatory process.
What types of concrete results has it produced?
The following may be cited: (a) the Chilean National Policy for Traffic Safety was designed by eight Ministries and the national police, and was validated and enriched with citizen participation, in only two months; eight years later it stays fully in force and has had significant impacts with a very small budget; (b) since 1996, the successful atmospheric decontamination actions in Santiago have applied some of the 258 decontamination instruments that were identified systematically by more than 200 business people, NGO members, public servants, researchers and consultants, in the participatory process of the First Plan; (c) three years after the environmental improvement plan of the Ventanas copper smelter and refinery was formulated through participation, and its management system was designed likewise, a new culture was in place and more than 100 innovations had been materialized by the company’s professionals, at minimum cost; (d) Cerro Sombrero oil camp, next to the Strait of Magellan, has been reconverted into a town with life of its own; (e) two networks for improving educational quality have been established in Bogota, Colombia, by applying the participatory workspace tool, for creating virtual organizations; (f) consensus visions of development have been generated, for clients, in fields as varied as inter-regional transport, industrial safety, micro-finance, animal health or regional development of bio-technology.
Can the ID Model be transferred?
It can indeed, and it is our policy to do so in all our future applications, by means of basic training modules incorporated into the corresponding projects.
© Copyright 1997, Innovative Development Institute