Handbooks of Research on Public Policy series
Edited by Robert Geyer and Paul Cairney
Chapter 19: The emergence of intermediary organizations: a network-based approach to the design of innovation policies
The importance of networking among heterogeneous organizations as a source of innovation is increasingly acknowledged within the scientific community. Some contributions (Nooteboom, 2000; Powell and Grodal, 2005) stress that the creative recombination of heterogeneous knowledge is an important source of innovation; others (Lane and Maxfield, 1997; Russo, 2000; Lane, 2009) focus on generative relationships characterized by heterogeneous competences, mutual and aligned directedness in contexts of joint action, as drivers of innovation processes; while yet others (Spence, 1984; Katz, 1986) suggest that networks foster innovation through the production and internalization of spillovers within the group of participants. In line with this growing consensus, policymakers increasingly implement interventions in support of networks among either small and large firms, or firms and universities, explicitly aimed at promoting innovation through joint R & D, knowledge transfer or technology diffusion. Nonetheless, our understanding of what network configurations most contribute to innovation, or indeed whether networks lead to innovation, and precisely how they do so, is still limited (Cunningham and Ramlogan, 2012). Greater understanding of what factors support the formation of innovation networks and their successful performance would help policymakers improve the design of policy interventions.
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