Innovation histories: A method for learning from experience

This brief from the Institutional Learning and Change Initiative (ILAC) outlines the purpose and the steps involved in creating an Institutional History.

"Preparing an ‘innovation history’ is a method for recording and reflecting on an innovation process. People who have been involved in the innovation jointly construct a detailed written account (sometimes referred to as a ‘learning history’) based on their recollections and on available documents." (Douthwaite & Ashby, 2005)


  • Purpose and audience
  • The learning selection framework for innovation
  • How to construct and learn from innovation histories
  • Clarify the objectives and expectations of stakeholders
  • Define the innovation
  • Construct innovation timelines and actor network maps
  • Write up the learning history
  • Use the innovation history as a catalyst for change
  • Write up the publishable innovation history
  • Disseminate the findings


Douthwaite, B., & Ashby, J. The Institutional Learning and Change (ILAC) Initiative, (2005). Innovation histories: A method for learning from experience.

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