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A contingency approach of open innovation intermediaries - the management principles of the "intermediary of the unknown"

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  • Marine Agogué

    ()
    (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris)

  • Elsa Berthet

    ()
    (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris, SADAPT - Sciences pour l'Action et le Développement : Activités, Produits, Territoires - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) : UMR1048 - AgroParisTech)

  • Tobias Fredberg

    (Management of Organizational Renewal and Entrepreneurship - Chalmers University of Technology)

  • Pascal Le Masson

    ()
    (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris)

  • Blanche Segrestin

    ()
    (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris)

  • Martin Stoetzel

    (Chair of Information Systems III - University Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Martin Wiener

    (Chair of Information Systems III - University Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Anna Yström

    (Management of Organizational Renewal and Entrepreneurship - Chalmers University of Technology)

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    Abstract

    Research has improved our understanding of the managerial challenges inherent in exploratory intermediation. For instance knowledge brokers help to solve well-defined problems based on existing competences. But what if the relevant actor networks are not known, if there is no clear common interest, or if there are only ill-defined, wicked problems and no legitimate common place where they can be discussed? The aim of this paper is to explore these management principles for intermediation of the unknown. Can intermediaries be active when the degree of unknown is high? And if so, what can they do and how can they manage and drive collective innovation? We first build on a review of the literature to highlight common core functions of the different types of intermediaries. Then, we introduce the "degree of unknown" as a new dimension for analyzing the role of intermediaries, and we discuss whether the core functions of the intermediary could be fulfilled when the degree of unknown is very high. Our analysis is based on four different empirical case studies in Sweden, France, and Germany where these functions have been tackled in particular because of the low level of pre-existing knowledge. We describe the managerial challenges these intermediaries face in the unknown and we demonstrate examples of how they have been handled. We conclude by discussing the theoretical and empirical perspectives raised by this work. The paper contributes to the theory of innovation intermediaries by exploring the properties of a form of intermediary for which the degree of unknown is a key contingency variable, and describes management principles for such intermediaries. In this way we characterize a new role -the "intermediary of the unknown" - that may be well spread in practice but scarcely analysed in the literature.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-00881577.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Publication status: Published - Presented, 13th Annual Conference of the European Academy of Management, EURAM 2013, 2013, Istanbul, Turkey
    Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00881577

    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://hal-ensmp.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00881577
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    Web page: http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

    Related research

    Keywords: innovation intermediaries; open innovation; collaborative innovation; degree of unknown; innovation management;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

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    1. Howells, Jeremy, 2006. "Intermediation and the role of intermediaries in innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 715-728, June.
    2. Pascal Le Masson & Benoît Weil & Armand Hatchuel & Patrick Cogez, 2012. "Why aren't they locked in waiting games? Unlocking rules and the ecology of concepts in the semiconductor industry," Post-Print hal-00870358, HAL.
    3. Thursby, Jerry G & Jensen, Richard & Thursby, Marie C, 2001. " Objectives, Characteristics and Outcomes of University Licensing: A Survey of Major U.S. Universities," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(1-2), pages 59-72, January.
    4. James Stewart & Sampsa Hyysalo, 2008. "Intermediaries, Users And Social Learning In Technological Innovation," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 12(03), pages 295-325.
    5. Fawcett, Stanley E. & Jones, Stephen L. & Fawcett, Amydee M., 2012. "Supply chain trust: The catalyst for collaborative innovation," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 163-178.
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