How We Do It

Opportunity-Driven Methodology

The opportunity-driven methodology consists of a three-step approach that links on-the-ground development needs to macro-level policy negotiations at the national, regional and international levels.  These three steps are interconnected and can start from either the grassroots or policy level, with specific laws and regulation serving as the connective element between the market and broader policy change.

Step 1: Identify a New Market Opportunity

The first step includes identifying an untapped market opportunity that would have the potential to generate economic and social benefits sector-wide. This can include, for example, opportunities along an agricultural value chain – e.g. seed potatoes in Tanzania, bamboo in East India, or cut flowers in Kenya – alternative energy approaches or innovation in ICT. TII’s will identify these opportunities through working closely with partners in the field and institutions in its network.

Step 2: Address Legal and Regulatory Barriers 

Many scalable, untapped market opportunities are limited because of legal and regulatory barriers that prevent the opportunity from hatching or growing. For example, excessive taxation and onerous non-tariff measures can make the development of new industries and transportation of goods prohibitively expensive.  Enterprises in many sectors, including agriculture, face a complex web of laws and regulations governing land ownership, inputs (including seeds), certification and registration requirements, and product standards.  These legal and regulatory hurdles impact smaller businesses to a greater degree and can limit access to finance and impede development of regional markets.  Addressing them sequentially and systematically, and understanding how they impact smaller producers in particular, is often critical to opening new markets and encouraging economic diversification.

Step 3: Link to Systemic Policy Change

Addressing legal and regulatory barriers at the enterprise level is not enough – systemic policy change is needed to ensure that new opportunities can grow and flourish.  Building inclusive policy and legal systems will require both a better understanding of the needs of entrepreneurs and better processes for responding to these needs on a system-wide basis.  Experience has shown that policy change does not automatically flow from international agreements or high-level discussions, but systems can change through a sequence of more inclusive, market-focused interventions and mechanisms to link these concrete market-opening steps to the policymaking process.