Intermediaries, Users and Social Learning in Technological Innovation
International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 295-325, 2008
Posted: 23 Apr 2010 Last revised: 1 Aug 2014
Date Written: September 1, 2008
This paper explores the role of intermediaries in the development and appropriation of new technologies. We focus on intermediaries that facilitate user innovation, and the linking of user innovation into supply side activities. We review findings on intermediaries in some of our studies and other available literature to build a framework to explore of how intermediaries work in making innovation happen. We make sense of these processes by taking a long-term view of the dynamics of technology and market development using the social learning in technological innovation (SLTI) framework. Our primary concern is with innovation intermediaries and their core roles of configuring, facilitating and brokering technologies, uses and relationships in uncertain and emerging markets. We show the range of positions and influence they have along the supply-use axis in a number of different innovation contexts, and how they are able to bridge the user-developer innovation domains. Equipped with these insights, we explore in more depth how intermediaries affect the shape of new information and communication technologies and the importance of identifying and nurturing the user-side intermediaries that are crucial to innovation success.
Keywords: Intermediaries, social learning, innovation, users
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