A Revolution In Agriculture

The Power Of The Collective
The 23rd-24th March. The Sheraton Hotel. Abuja. Nigeria.

A Revolution?

The dictionary definition of revolution suggests an extreme, or complete change in the way people live or work.

It also defines it as activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation. A fundamental change in the way of thinking something — a change of paradigm.

So yes we felt we witnessed the beginning of something quite revolutionary.

Collective Intelligence

Change and improvement of this nature can only happen when the will of the majority is aligned and then directed in a single minded way.

The passion and energy for change of everyone involved was clear from the start. We could feel it.

The experience and wisdom of those in the room was easy to see — we wanted to capture all of it in the frameworks and the narratives below.


The Positive Impact Of Genuine Collaboration

Collaboration means just that — people working together to form a coalition for change — a movement for good.

Team Work

The combination of everyone in the room, the right support and motivation of all the actors can bring much needed change to the agricultural system of Nigeria and that was very much the mission as we started to work together.


Building On Progress

Although we had a few short hours together as a team there has been much work done by many partners and actors ahead of the session.

This was yet another stepping stone on a vital journey for Nigeria. We wanted to honour that by bringing the valuable work done by many partners into the frameworks and then mist importantly start to add the insights from everyone gathered together.

Three Frameworks:

A Vital Step

An Important Moment In Time

We thank you once again for all your contributions and we hope what follows is helpful to keep the energy going.

As promised here’s the link to all of the images we created together. They are freely able to be downloaded at this link.

You Can Download All Of The Images Here:
Please let us know if you have any difficulty with these links — at the contacts provided at the bottom of this document.

A Dynamic And Fluid World

Whatever the line of business we are all affected by countless influences — small and large changes that effect us every minute of the day. The experience we gain as we travel through life comes from being able to cope with them as well as possible — learning from them each time.

Some of these changes are beyond our control and we have to work accordingly but others are very possible to influence and adapt to in positive ways.

Systems Aren’t Linear

All our work is highly visual — that’s because we can explain almost everything much quicker and more memorably that way. In particular the sometimes intangible and abstract nature of complex systems.

We spent time unpacking the system of agriculture. Like all systems it’s the culmination of many other smaller systems and sub-processes — all of them involving many people and ‘technologies’ and in total adding up to something more — a complete mechanism that generates a result and therefore value.

Over the course of the day we tackled the whole system from a variety of perspectives.

We looked at the dimension of a vision for 2020 — the dependencies that result from that, the challenges involved in delivering it, the crucial stakeholders and their needs.

And no surprise to anyone in the room we know the system needs careful attention — evolution in some areas and revolution in others.

Three Frameworks

As we prepared for the day we had researched and translated all the information we could find into three structures — frameworks that held the fundamental dimensions of the agricultural system.

Framework One

The overall context of the wider picture into which the system of agriculture needs to fit.

Framework Two

This is where we unpacked the main components of the system so that we could have meaningful conversations about each part.

Framework Three

The state partnership framework that shows how, once designed a framework can enable the scaling and deployment on a far wider basis.

Framework ONE — Module A.

The Exam Question

This was the question that we initially settled on and drove the preparation and designs of the frameworks.

We asked ourselves what this question meant and what else it embraced. We felt it was very much in line with the spirit of the days we would be spending with the team in the room.

Many other dimensions are closely implicated within such a challenge. It’s a big question and it created a vivid picture.


A Multi-layered Question

There’s Multiple Dimensions Associated With An Exam Question Like This:


Framework ONE — Module B.

A National Context

We moved on — and such a question has to be set within the bigger context that is Nigeria. We have to consider all of the factors that conspire to make it that much more intricate and of course add to the challenge.

There’s no doubt that the agriculture of the nation is inextricably entangled with the whole fabric of Nigeria. Making this work will have tremendous positive impact on many many other aspects of life.

Framework ONE — Module B.

The Driving Dynamics

In addition to the factors covered in the ‘National Context’ there are always other dimensions to bear in mind— pressures, tensions and perhaps inconvenient truths.

“We may simply call them challenges and we need to know that many of them may be out of our direct control…”

But they are always critical to understand and feature in making better calculations — especially as we start to plan change and alter direction — and in particular as we start to develop fresh initiatives and improve knowledge about what can and must be done.

Framework ONE — Module C.

An Emerging Vision

A big part of any successful initiative and strategy is having a clear sense of where we want to go. A vision.


This foundational vision for 2020 created a lot of very valuable discussion and as a result we were able to add the invaluable insights and contributions of everyone in the room.

Just Think. Just Imagine.

Framework ONE — Module C.

The Team’s Response

The team’s work was distilled into a series of themes and will become a major part of the future focus. These are the instinctive thoughts of those on the ground — they come with the insight and experience of the system itself. Quite literally the grass roots!

What a powerful concept and energy for the future!


Framework ONE — Module C.

Team Vision And Dependencies

As a result of the vision we were able to discuss the dependencies of it and as a result, to the right of the image, sits that list of crucial activities that will need to become solutions if we are to achieve the vision.

Framework ONE — Module D.

Critical To The Success

This is the initial draft of what we think will be crucial to achieving this vision and need to be in place as a constant if this vision is going to be achieved.

Framework ONE — Module E.

The Strategic Assumptions

These are currently the assumptions (dependencies) we are making in order to achieve the vision.

These are the kinds of assumptions that mirror strategies and visions of this nature — in all walks of life.

Over time we will need to test and develop them to make sure they go beyond mere assumptions but as a key part of this framework they completed the logic of Framework One at this stage.


Moving To Framework Two

The System Framework

Framework Two

The System Framework

A system is a fluid, mercurial and often intangible thing. We often ‘see’ systems when they aren’t working well — traffic jams, travelling through airports or the impacts of health or education.

Systems that work well are often invisible and everyone simply enjoys the fruits.


Unpacking a ‘system’ and then considering how to change it is never for the faint hearted. In the case of architecture we are attempting deconstruct one of the most complex and fundamental systems of all.

Without a properly functioning system of agriculture humanity as we know it would fail. The enormity of the web of relationships, standards, interconnections and processes is almost impossible to explain in simple terms.

A Modular Story

As with the first framework Framework TWO is made up of modules. Modules which break the system down into a few simpler dimensions.

As we proceed together over time the data and componentry of these will enrich considerably and the representations will ultimately be much more correct.

This will happen alongside a greater and more shared understanding of how it SHOULD work.

Framework TWO — Module A.

Defining The System

We started this framework with an expression of what’s involved in any agricultural system. And around this some of the indisputable truths of what’s involved.

These will massively inform our understanding when thinking about systems at this level and at this degree of complexity.

Framework TWO — Module B.

The System Context

We wanted to explain just some of the key factors that affect the system right now. Some are hiding in plain sight and others just cause the pressures and situations that over time we know may just be taken for granted.

But we know every one of them will better inform our appreciation and as a result ‘mastery’ of the system as it stands today.

Framework TWO — Module B.

The System Dynamics

To truly gain ‘mastery’ of anything this complex we need to be comfortable dealing with dynamics.

As we described earlier, but specifically in relation to the system itself — what surrounds and implicates the way the system works is crucial. The big prize is how we can take advantage of them — and we do that by knowing what they mean to the system at every stage and to every one of us.

As you look at the system each of the above dynamics is having its own effect. Many different dynamics can have a combined effect on just one part of the system. It’s complex.

Imagine if we could be much more comfortable and confident with the implications of that!


Framework TWO — Module C.

A Chain Of Immense Value


Framework TWO — Module C.

The Anatomy Of The System

No system of any kind works in a simple sequence or in any textbook or straightforward way.

Although at some levels it’s vitally important to tell the story of it simply — sometimes it’s as important to recognise and be qualified to know the detail that hides behind the surface.

As many smart people over the years have said — if you can’t tell a complex story simply — and defend it — then you clearly don’t know it well enough.


Framework TWO — Module C.

Making The Complexity Simpler

As you look at this representation, and as it evolves over time, we hope it will eventually help explain the system.

In addition we want to make it as educational and informative as possible so it should show everyone’s role in it, how to improve it and when and where to close gaps as they emerge and in so doing remove any barriers we can.

Framework TWO — Module D.

The Stakeholders

A man-made ‘system’ isn’t something that exists without the contributions, best practices, actions, resources and intentions of its stakeholders. Even in nature — the systems that make up our oceans and our forests rely on many species and a host of actors to keep it alive.

Therefore it was vital for us to include a module that begins to show the influences, contributions and ultimately the motivations of each stakeholder — and begin to appreciate where they each fit across the ‘system’.

The dynamics earlier in the framework are directly implicated here — ultimately everyone involved has accountability to understand their role in improving and sustaining the system and the constant pressures and tensions they bring and that will arise.

Framework TWO — Module E.

The System Foundations

The Enablers Of A Strong System

Any system like this has to be founded on strong/appropriate ideas and components.

In this initial list we’ve identified a core set and over time they would be refined and added to as we design and then engineer the robust system. In similarly complex systems it would be tough to imagine complete systems integrity without them.

Framework TWO — Module F.

Defining System Value

As we heard throughout our time together there’s few systems on Earth as important to life as this. To ignore its importance is both reckless and unimaginable — and getting it right is what drives us all.

The value that this system delivers is undeniable — mission critical to the future of Nigeria.


Moving On To Framework Three

The State Partnership Framework

Framework Three

The State Partnership Framework

In order for any major change to happen there needs to be a highly capable and professional organisation behind it.

As each state scales out the solutions, improves the system and learns the inevitable lessons its organisational construct needs to be clear and adaptive. The capabilities, roles and responsibilities that underpin it all need to be crystal clear.

Framework THREE — Module A

The Theory Of Change

We started this framework with a module that extols the ‘Theory Of Change’ — effectively a ‘mantra’ that puts the logic of everything that we placed on the wall into sharp focus.

Only by wiring this all up properly and being as careful as we can to make everything well integrated and systemically effective can we hope to make it work to everyone’s advantage.

Framework THREE — Module B.

The Management Structure

A Multi-Stakeholder Operating Model

Three core teams — the vision group, the innovation group and the core delivery team with each of their roles and responsibilities and capabilities clearly identified. An organisational design that can be scaled out.

Framework THREE — Module C.

The SWOT Analysis

We chose to show progress and although only two states have so far reported the idea reflects the need to baseline the current situation in order to start to define what and where things need to be done.

Benue And Kogi State

Framework THREE — Module C.

Defining Success

Connecting State Transformation — CAADP

We wanted to go beyond the high level statements of success and get further into the meaning of the usual high level definitions. In these frameworks we will (eventually) want to link all actions, initiatives and programs DIRECTLY to these outcome metrics.

Framework THREE — Module C.

Critical To Success

To close off this framework we placed the core themes — they are almost imperatives to making the partnerships work — this set will grow and evolve.

We suggest that (for example) without Ownership, Integration & Coordination, Sustainability & Resilience and Momentum then we can realistically expect this to be a much harder task.


And In Summary

Honouring Everyone’s Commitment

The Wall Of Commitment

Everyone was invited to sign up to the future!

Everyone did! — Over 100 people went on the journey — a critical first step for many.

Without question the time we all spent together represented not only invaluable ‘grass roots’ — senior stakeholder collaboration but the ‘green shoots’ of a powerful revolution in Agriculture.


Thank You!

Please contact us at either — hazel@grouppartners.net or john@grouppartners.net — if you have any difficult getting any of the downloads or with any comments about the above.

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