Service stations along global knowledge pipelines - on innovation intermediaries' function in fostering globalized innovation processes

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandling (monografi)


Innovation is an interactive learning process that is facilitated naturally by geographic proximity. Innovation intermediaries can serve as an extra catalyst to and facilitator of interaction and collaboration. With today’s more globalized knowledge and innovation landscape, companies and research organizations seek complementary competencies and partners with whom they can collaborate on a much broader geographical scale. Although linkages with other actors internationally can offer related knowledge to help secure continuous dynamism and long-term competitiveness, engaging in internationally-collaborative innovation processes requires conscious efforts and capabilities. Innovation actors – particularly small companies – may lack the internal capacity or network connections to pursue international innovation activities. Such barriers may prevent or limit the effectiveness of their engagement in international innovation processes.
Within the field of innovation policy, one of the current issues is how policymakers can address actors’ barriers to the internationalization of innovation – helping to catalyze increased (and more efficient) international knowledge sourcing and collaboration. If innovation processes are increasingly transnational, how are public policies designed to facilitate cross-border interaction? Could innovation intermediaries be leveraged in this regard?
Existing literature focuses on the role that innovation intermediaries (cluster organizations or similar) have in facilitating interactive learning and knowledge creation within a particular local innovation node or national geography. There is relatively less written about innovation intermediaries’ role in facilitating international interactive learning processes. This thesis aims to improve understanding of how innovation intermediaries foster firms’ and research organizations’ transnational innovation processes – facilitating learning and serving as an input for future policy development in this area.
This thesis uses a case study approach to investigate factors driving innovation actors’ need for intermediary support, and support functions innovation intermediaries fulfill in relation to these needs. 59 innovation actors (i.e. research organizations, large/medium companies, and small companies) and 14 innovation intermediaries – grouped in five transnational innovation networks – were the objects of study in the StarDust project case. Data was collected through interviews, surveys and participant observation over the course of the three-year project.
Results highlight three key conclusions. First, transnational innovation processes drive a relatively stronger demand for external support to bringing dispersed knowledge sources together in collaborative development of innovative solutions. Second, innovation actors’ differentiated interests in external support imply a need for tailored support functions, and highlight the possibilities for leveraging the system in support delivery. Third, research results point to the expanding role that innovation intermediaries take on to foster globalized innovation processes – without necessarily having corresponding mandates or skills.
These findings contribute to the research field by providing more detailed insights on the type of intermediary support functions that may be useful in internationally-interdependent innovation processes, and by providing a comparative perspective of different innovation actors’ support needs in relation to the services provided by innovation intermediaries. The research helps take a first step to substantiating the role that innovation intermediaries could play in strengthening international linkages in research and innovation activities – contributing to ongoing policy development in this area.



Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Tvärvetenskapliga studier


Tilldelande institution
Handledare/Biträdande handledare
Tilldelningsdatum2014 maj 9
  • Research Policy Institute, Lund University
Tryckta ISBN978-91-7473-960-2
StatusPublished - 2014


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