To solve the Great Food Puzzle gaps in the ambition and implementation of national-level food systems transformation plans must be closed. Innovations are key to doing so and unlocking the potential of food systems as solutions to the nature and climate crises. As food systems differ from place to place, there needs to be a rigorous approach to identify the right innovation to deliver the right impact, for the right place. WWF’s new RIGHT INNOVATION, RIGHT IMPACT, RIGHT PLACE study and framework to assess the suitability of different innovations to different contexts can help ensure the most impact is delivered in the shortest time possible.
Innovations aren’t delivered by just a few people – everyone working within a food system can innovate. It is important that all stakeholders identify the actions that will deliver most impact in the shortest time – identifying new actions that can be applied, and scaling those that are already delivering success. Everyone must work to rapidly accelerate food systems transformation. Those investing money in food systems transformation (be they governments, banks, private investors, public donors or businesses) have a significant say in what innovations are implemented. Not only does the amount of funding for food systems innovation need to be increase, the direction of funds must become even more focused and context-specific.
There are already many innovations in our food systems and several are demonstrating their ability to deliver big impacts in short timeframes. Innovating doesn’t require developing completely new ways of doing things and decision-makers can learn from the approaches being applied in similar food systems round the world.
The WWF Food Systems Innovation Framework helps decision-makers consider the scale of change that needs to be applied in a specific food system and the innovation that will deliver it most quickly. Applying WWF’s Food Systems Typology allows countries to learn from what is already working in food systems similar to their own.
Finding the optimal innovation to close the gaps and help solve the Great Food Puzzle can have different starting points – whether it’s with assessing a specific innovation, thinking about the impact needed, or considering what the context is. Stakeholders can enter this process in the place that makes the most sense depending on their context. From there, it’s critical to ask strategic questions that will help determine if the innovation being considered is fit for purpose and likely to deliver the most impact in the shortest time.