Archived Webinar

Digital Ag Series: Failing Tech – Scaling Tech: The Journey from Ideas to Scaling-up

"An entrepreneur's perspective on why many big ideas fail, and how small-scale testing, measuring, and learning is key to scaling solutions"

It is often small things that cause big ideas to fail. Thinking about global concepts, fast rollouts, and quick scale-ups, we are often too far ahead to have an eye for the many challenges of implementing innovative solutions.

Chris Weigl and Mariella Goebl are the co-founders of SeeHow, a startup tackling transparency in global supply chains, and innovation experts for TechnoServe in West Africa. They give us an entrepreneur's perspective on why many big ideas fail, including their own startup, and how small-scale testing, measuring, and learning is key to scaling solutions. They provide hands-on insights into their work with Nespresso's coffee supply chain, building a chatbot for Beninese farmer education, and using drone data to improve market access for small-holder cashew farmers.

Joined by panelists Marc Schut, senior innovation and scaling scientist at CGIAR, and Nazar Syrotiuk, Global Emerging Technology Manager at Nestlé, and Marie Agnes Jouanjean, Agriculture Economist, Data-driven and Digital Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank, this discussion is an opportunity to reflect on the role of the private as well as public sector and policies to leverage innovation.

About the Presenters

Parmesh Shah

Global Lead, Data-Driven and Digital Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank  

Parmesh Shah is the Global Lead for Data-Driven Digital Agriculture at the World Bank. He provides leadership to the Bank’s work in these areas and supports the development of global knowledge and learning in these areas to offer solutions to clients and other development partners. His current areas of interest are economic and social organizations and networks of the poor, making markets and public services work for the poor, social entrepreneurship, digital and data-based innovations in agriculture and rural development, promotion of on-farm and off-farm jobs, and public-private and people partnerships for rural poverty reduction. He is currently involved in developing a regional program on scaling up digital agriculture in the Africa region, involving setting up ecosystems for entrepreneurship and incubation. He holds a D Phil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a B Tech degree in Agricultural Engineering from Pantnagar in India.

Chris Weigl

Technical Experts, TechnoServe
Chris Weigl has dedicated his career and education to innovating for responsible sourcing and fair value chains. After his studies in environmental technologies, he joined UNIDO and then the OECD to work on development policy and industrial innovation. He then co-founded an image analysis startup, focused on scaling objective insights into on-the-ground agriculture through mobile phones. Apart from consulting activities for the WWF, he now works for TechnoServe in Benin, where he leads a project on remote sensing of best agricultural practices in cashew.

Mariella Goebl

Technical Experts, TechnoServe
Mariella Goebl is an environmental economist, dedicated to responsible resource management. At TechnoServe, a globally active Washington-based NGO, Mariella leads the processor-focused tech innovation activities for the cashew sector in Benin. Before joining TechnoServe, Mariella has co-founded a startup on remote image analysis for best agricultural practices and has worked in the Competitive Intelligence team of Nestlé. She is also involved in consulting engagements on sustainable forestry and teaches classes on the business case of sustainability at a university in Basel.

Marc Schut

Senior Innovation and Scaling Scientist, The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and Wageningen University, Rwanda
Marc Schut is a senior innovation and scaling scientist with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and Wageningen University, based in Rwanda. Marc leads the Flagship ‘Improved Livelihoods at Scale’ under the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) that has activities in 80 countries. Marc directs a CGIAR team of 30 staff in Rwanda and is Principal Investigator of several large donor-funded programs that focus on innovation and scaling for improving food, income and nutrition security. He has published over 40 articles in scientific journals. Marc is one of the founding fathers of Scaling Readiness, an approach that supports the design, implementation and monitoring of strategies for scaling innovations.

Nazar Syrotiuk

Global Emerging Technology Manager, Nestlé
Nazar Syrotiuk is an experienced innovation manager with more than 10+ years of engagement in leading FMCG companies (Nestle, Beiersdorf, L’Oreal). Nazar has extensive experience in business & innovation management, e.g. from managing teams and launching businesses in specific geographies, to accelerating innovations across categories & regions. Currently, his work is focused on mid-to-long-term horizons with a strong focus on Emerging Technologies.

Marie Agnes Jouanjean

Agriculture Economist, Data-driven and Digital Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank     

Marie-Agnès Jouanjean is an Economist with the Agriculture and Food Global Practice at the World Bank. She focuses on data-driven and digital agriculture, exploring how digital technologies can support the transformation of agri-food systems in developing countries, and the role of governments to maximize efficiency, equity and environmental sustainability outcomes. Prior to joining the World Bank, Marie-Agnès worked at the OECD where she developed policy-oriented analysis on various dimensions of digital technologies in agriculture and trade as well as on Global Value Chains (GVCs). She also worked for a Think Tank (Overseas Development Institute (ODI)) and a range of International Organisations on barriers to trade (infrastructure, services, NTMs), regional integration, economics of resilience and climate change adaptation. Marie-Agnès holds a PhD in International Economics from Sciences Po Paris, that she did in collaboration with the research centre, LICOS, in KULeuven. She also has a degree as an Agronomist (IRC-CNEARC/Montpellier SupAgro and ENSAIA National School of Agronomics and Food Industry).

Questions Submitted


- May 28, 2021

jose luis

- Apr 27, 2021
muy bueno

jose luis

- Apr 27, 2021
A menudo son las pequeñas cosas las que hacen que las grandes ideas fracasen

Lynn Ioana

- Apr 25, 2021


- Jan 12, 2021

Joy Mildred Adhiambo

- Nov 18, 2020
The Journey from Ideas to Scaling-up

Mohammad Nadir

- Nov 18, 2020
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