Rethinking the role of intermediaries as an architect of collective exploration and creation of knowledge in open innovation
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2013
This paper questions the applicability of traditional notions of intermediary activities, which are usually categorized as either brokering or networking, in cases of high uncertainty regarding technologies, markets or which actors to involve. In the case of collaborative open innovation, especially in circumstances when no single organization is able to take on the challenge alone, the activities traditionally associated with intermediation do not suffice to describe what an intermediary can do to support innovation. This paper presents two cases of intermediaries working with the early phases of traffic safety innovations, and how they have managed to develop their activities beyond solely brokering and networking, but also to take an active role in the process of joint exploration and creation of knowledge. We use a qualitative approach to analyze the two cases in order to provide examples of how rethinking intermediation activities can support open innovation in a collaborative setting. The findings suggest that intermediaries can take on a more active role, which could be described as an architect which designs prerequisites and offers leadership in the process of joint exploration and creation of knowledge.