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Beyond knowledge brokerage: An exploratory study of innovation intermediaries in an evolving smallholder agricultural system in Kenya

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Author Info

  • Kilelu, Catherine W.

    ()
    (RIU, Communication and Innovation Studies Group, Wageningen University)

  • Klerkx, Laurens

    ()
    (Communication and Innovation Studies Group, Wageningen University)

  • Leeuwis, Cees

    ()
    (Communication and Innovation Studies Group, Wageningen University)

  • Hall, Andy

    ()
    (RIU, LINK, Open University, and UNU-MERIT)

Abstract

The recognition that innovation occurs in networks of heterogeneous actors and requires broad systemic support beyond knowledge brokering has resulted in a changing landscape of the intermediary domain in an increasingly market-driven agricultural sector in developing countries. This paper presents findings of an explorative case study that looked at 22 organisations identified as fulfilling an intermediary role in the Kenyan agricultural sector. The results show that these organisations fulfill functions that are not limited to distribution of knowledge and putting it into use. The functions also include fostering integration and interaction among the diverse actors engaged in innovation networks and working on technological, organisational and institutional innovation. Further, the study identified various organisational arrangements of innovation intermediaries with some organisations fulfilling a specialised innovation brokering role, even as other intermediaries take on brokering as a side activity, while still substantively contributing to the innovation process. Based on these findings we identify a typology of 4 innovation intermediation arrangements, including technology brokers, systemic brokers, enterprise development support and input access support. The results indicate that innovation brokering is a pervasive task in supporting innovation and will require policy support to embed it in innovation support arrangements. The paper is not normative about these arrangements.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 022.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2011022

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Keywords: Smallholder agriculture; innovation intermediaries; agriculture innovation; knowledge brokers; Kenya;

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References

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  1. Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees, 2008. "Matching demand and supply in the agricultural knowledge infrastructure: Experiences with innovation intermediaries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 260-276, June.
  2. Kibaara, Betty & Ariga, Joshua & Olwande, John & Jayne, Thomas S., 2008. "Trends in Kenyan Agricultural Productivity: 1997-2007," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 56117, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  3. Norman Clark, 2002. "Innovation Systems, Institutional Change And The New Knowledge Market: Implications For Third World Agricultural Development," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(4-5), pages 353-368.
  4. David Neven & Thomas Reardon, 2004. "The Rise of Kenyan Supermarkets and the Evolution of their Horticulture Product Procurement Systems," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 22(6), pages 669-699, November.
  5. Howells, Jeremy, 2006. "Intermediation and the role of intermediaries in innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 715-728, June.
  6. Kristjanson, Patti & Reid, Robin S. & Dickson, Nancy M. & Grace, Delia & Clark, William C. & Romney, Dannie & Puskur, Ranjitha & MacMillan, Susan, 2009. "Linking International Agricultural Research Knowledge with Action for Sustainable Development," Scholarly Articles 9774655, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  7. 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.
  8. Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees, 2008. "Institutionalizing end-user demand steering in agricultural R&D: Farmer levy funding of R&D in The Netherlands," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 460-472, April.
  9. Jeremy Phillipson & Matthew Gorton & Marian Raley & Andrew Moxey, 2004. "Treating farms as firms? The evolution of farm business support from productionist to entrepreneurial models," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 22(1), pages 31-54, February.
  10. Szogs, Astrid, 2008. "The Role of mediator organisations in the making of innovation systems in least developed countries. Evidence from Tanzania," CIRCLE Electronic Working Papers 2008/19, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  11. Biggs, Stephen D., 1990. "A multiple source of innovation model of agricultural research and technology promotion," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(11), pages 1481-1499, November.
  12. Sumberg, James, 2005. "Systems of innovation theory and the changing architecture of agricultural research in Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 21-41, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Alex Koutsouris, 2012. "Exploring the emerging facilitation and brokerage roles for agricultural extension education," Working Papers 2012-4, Agricultural University of Athens, Department Of Agricultural Economics.
  2. Kilelu, Catherine W. & Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees, 2013. "Unravelling the role of innovation platforms in supporting co-evolution of innovation: Contributions and tensions in a smallholder dairy development programme," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 65-77.
  3. Yang, Huan & Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees, 2014. "Functions and limitations of farmer cooperatives as innovation intermediaries: Findings from China," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 115-125.

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