Webinar reveals approaches for breeders to save time and money, cut waste – and deliver for clients

How can breeders and other research programs continually improve their processes and products? And how can they ensure they keep a customer focus at the centre of their work?

A recent webinar organized by the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform (EiB) and Accelerating Genetic Gains in Maize and Wheat for Improved Livelihoods (AGG), invited national agricultural research systems, seed companies, other interested breeders to explore tools, techniques and transitions toward a continuous improvement culture in breeding.

Continuous improvement (CI) is an approach that is being used to modernize breeding programs, to ensure they consistently get significantly improved varieties in farmers' fields. It helps teams create a new way of thinking and working. The goal is to ensure striving for excellence becomes part of an organizational culture. To get there, it provides and a set of clear principles and tools to help diagnose problems and then solve them.

The webinar featured a leading international CI expert – Theresa Heitman, a consultant working with EiB partners – who introduced the Lean Improvement Methodology, an approach to help breeders grow their programs and improve results without adding more resources. It examines the way breeders create value for the customer, using specific methods and tools to reduce or eliminate non-value-added activities. 

Other presenters included B.M. Prasanna from the CGIAR Research Program on Maize, Gustavo Teixeira and Theresa Heitman from EiB and Dan Makumbi from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Marcelo Almeida from Syngenta, and Sharifah Shahrul from the International Rice Research Center (IRRI).

This short workshop is part of a series of webinars co-organized by EiB and AGG. Forthcoming sessions will cover assessing genetic gains and other topics. The EiB team has also provided partners with a range of tools to help launch and manage CI processes.

Watch the full webinar in the screen above, or on EiB's youtube channel.



Visit the EiB toolbox to download CI tools: EiB-Continuous Improvement Tools and Methods

Open/download webinar PowerPoints in PDF format:

Special thank you to:

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR)

 This summary was originally developed by CIMMYT / AGG