An evolutionary perspective of innovation intermediaries: factors from a case study in intangibles

Mónica Recalde, José Antonio Afaro-Tanco, Andrés Hernán Mejía-Villa


Purpose: This article aims to investigate the factors influencing the evolution of intermediaries specializing in intangible assets within the context of open innovation practices. While existing literature has explored the roles and functions of innovation intermediaries, this study fills a crucial gap by examining how these intermediaries evolve over time.

Design/methodology/approach: The research employs a dual approach, starting with a comprehensive literature review on innovation intermediaries. Subsequently, the study delves into the temporal dimension of an intermediary's evolution by conducting an in-depth case study of a non-profit organization specializing in intangible asset management. The research methods encompass documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews to capture a holistic understanding of the intermediary's development.

Findings: The empirical findings unfold in different stages, delineating how the selected organization transformed into an "innomediary." Two core functions and five pivotal factors influencing the intermediary's evolution are identified: leadership, revenue model, shared interests, open innovation, and service culture.

Originality/value: This research contributes to the existing body of knowledge by addressing the temporal evolution of innovation intermediaries, specifically those focusing on intangible assets. The identification of key functions and factors influencing the intermediary's development adds original perspectives to the literature on open innovation practices. The study offers practical implications for managers and organizations involved in open innovation ecosystems. By understanding the facilitators and barriers uncovered in the case study, managers can navigate the complexities of evolving and thriving in the current open innovation landscape. While the findings are case-specific, they provide a foundation for further empirical research, both quantitative and qualitative, to generalize insights across diverse contexts.This study contributes valuable insights into the nuanced process of becoming an effective innovation intermediary.

Keywords: Case study, innovation, intangibles, intermediaries, open innovation.



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