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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kilelu, Catherine W. & Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees & Hall, Andy, 2011. "Beyond knowledge brokerage: An exploratory study of innovation intermediaries in an evolving smallholder agricultural system in Kenya," MERIT Working Papers 022, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2011022
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2011/wp2011-022.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Swaans, Kees & Cullen, Beth & van Rooyen, André & Adekunle, Adewale & Ngwenya, Hlami & Lema, Zelalem & Nederlof, Suzanne, 2016. "Dealing with critical challenges in African innovation platforms: Lessons for facilitation," IFPRI book chapters,in: Innovation for inclusive value-chain development: Successes and challenges, chapter 10, pages 303-328 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Kilelu, Catherine W. & Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees, 2016. "Unraveling the role of innovation platforms in supporting coevolution of innovation: Contributions and tensions in a smallholder dairy-development program," IFPRI book chapters,in: Innovation for inclusive value-chain development: Successes and challenges, chapter 9, pages 269-302 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. 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, pages 65-77.
    4. 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.
    5. Yang, Huan & Klerkx, Laurens & Leeuwis, Cees, 2014. "Functions and limitations of farmer cooperatives as innovation intermediaries: Findings from China," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, pages 115-125.
    6. Hall, Andy, 2011. "Putting agricultural research into use: Lessons from contested visions of innovation," MERIT Working Papers 076, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    7. Figueiredo, Paulo N. & Piana, Janaina, 2016. "When “one thing (almost) leads to another”: A micro-level exploration of learning linkages in Brazil's mining industry," Resources Policy, Elsevier, pages 405-414.
    8. Ton, Giel & Klerkx, Laurens & de Grip, Karin & Rau, Marie-Luise, 2015. "Innovation grants to smallholder farmers: Revisiting the key assumptions in the impact pathways," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 9-23.
    9. Bernard Pelletier & Gordon M. Hickey & Kimberly L. Bothi & Andrew Mude, 2016. "Linking rural livelihood resilience and food security: an international challenge," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, pages 469-476.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises
    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
    • N57 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Africa; Oceania
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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